Reports that Ed Miliband is set to rule out a return to frontline politics were described as “speculation” by sources close to the former Labour leader.
The Times said Mr Miliband was expected to say within days that he is planning to focus on campaigning as a backbench MP on inequality and environmental issues.
The move would scotch hopes among some supporters of Labour leadership front-runner Jeremy Corbyn that he might take a senior role in the new frontbench team, providing reassurance to MPs concerned that Mr Corbyn will drag the party to the far left.
The paper said Mr Miliband had told friends he needs a break from frontline politics after five years as leader and defeat in the general election in May.
However a source close to the Doncaster North MP described the report as “all speculation”.