David Miliband has said his return to South Shields is in no way a return to politics.
The would-be Labour leader returned for his annual South Shields lecture, alongside guest speaker Alan Bennett.
The renowned author accepted an invite after a chance meeting with Mr Miliband in London last year.
“He was cycling past and I just took my chance,” Mr Miliband said.
The former MP left the UK last year to take up a new job heading up an international refugee charity, finally leaving behind what he calls the “soap opera” surrounding his relationship with brother Ed.
Speaking at Harton Technology College, Mr Miliband said he was determined to avoid entering back into a situation where his every comment was weighed up against his brother’s policies.
“I am going to be extremely careful, and extremely boring about all aspects of UK politics. I spent three years having to mind my Ps and Qs and I’m not going to ruin that now.”
Insisting he was going to be supportive of everything the party does, Mr Miliband refused to say if he backed the Labour party policy of increasing the top rate of income tax to 50p, the internal party war with the trade unions or the party’s strategy for winning in 2015.
“I keep my eye on Britain, it’s home, and I worry about the party I want it to do well, but I won’t just wade back into things.”
He does still talk regularly to brother Ed but, he quickly adds, is in no way an adviser.
“Everyone knows I’m passionate about Britain, but equally I’m leading a charity in the US. That is where I have to make a difference now. I was privileged to play a big part in the last Labour Government, and you don’t forget that.”
Asked if he saw any eventual return to UK politics he said: “The charity is the right thing to be doing now, but if you asked me five years ago do I think I would be running a major charity, no I wouldn’t say that was how live will go. So you can only take one job at a time, we are only four months in.”
He added: “I’m not the power behind the throne and I’m not a king maker, I can promise you that.”
Mr Miliband, who will fly out before Saturday’s derby match, said he was happy to be back for the annual South Shields lecture. Asked about his latest big name speaker, Mr Miliband said: “I think popular demand is the big reason for having Alan here today. And from that I just asked him really, he lives in the same part of London as I did and just last July I look my chance to tell him about this important civic event we had created.”
For Mr Bennett, the lecture was a slightly quieter event.
“I’m happy to be here, but I made clear, I’m not a lecturer. I think doing a reading is about right,” the author said.
Mr Bennett has, at his London home, being fighting plans to axe libraries, and offered support to those opposed to local government cuts in the North East.
“I saw the situation in Newcastle, it was terrible. We were told in London that the library would make a good retail outfit, but we kept it open and every afternoon it is full of kids. Libraries are a place for people, and it’s important they are told that.”