Former Labour leader Ed Miliband has questioned what family life would have been like if he had become prime minister, saying there would have been a lot of downsides.
Mr Miliband told the Big Issue it was “devastating” to lose the 2015 election, and admitted he listened too much to advice, and should have been bolder.
He said: “I don’t think anything really prepares you to be leader of a political party. The scale of the media scrutiny. You go from saying lots of things that people don’t really pay much attention to, to having everything you do, everything you say, every sandwich you eat, scrutinised.
“There are definitely sacrifices, time lost with my children, feeling like you’re absent even when you’re present. But it is a unique opportunity.”
Mr Miliband said there was a process of “grieving” for losing the election, spending a lot of time being deeply regretful that he had lost.
“The peak of my career has gone. I was the leader of the Labour Party and I’ll never have that job again. But, I was on the street a few months ago with my younger son, who is 10, and this woman said to me, ‘mate, I really wish you were the prime minister’.
“I had a conversation with my son and we concluded, from his point of view, that it was better that I wasn’t. I’m not just saying, let’s look on the bright side, but I suppose I’m thinking, would I have been as good a dad if I’d been prime minister? Definitely not.
“What kind of life would my kids have had in the public eye? There would have been an upside but there would have been a lot of downsides. That’s what I try and hang on to.”
Mr Miliband, who is now shadow business secretary, added he was too “risk averse” during the election six years ago and was worried about saying the wrong thing.
“But that’s the lesson I learned, just to be myself,” he said.
The Big Issue magazine is on sale from Monday.