MP criticises Ed Miliband

David Blunkett
David Blunkett
Have your say

David Blunkett has joined criticism of Labour Party leader and fellow South Yorkshire MP Ed Miliband.

The Brightside and Hillsborough MP said Mr Miliband was similar to post-war Labour Prime Minister Clement Attlee in being an effective team leader, but not necessarily ‘the most vibrant’ figurehead.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Mr Blunkett, a cabinet minister in Tony Blair’s Government, said there was frustration in the party at how it was performing, but also ‘a great deal of hope’ it could improve.

Recent opinion polls show the party’s percentage lead over the Conservatives has narrowed to six per cent from double figures.

The situation has resulted in criticism of Mr Miliband’s leadership from current and former figures within the party.

Former Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott said the party has ‘got nowhere’ and called for ‘underperforming’ shadow ministers to be sacked.

Mr Blunkett told listeners: “I would accept what’s been said over the last few weeks, including the article by John Prescott on Sunday, that we need to work out how to get a higher profile, in circumstances where it is very difficult to get a hearing.”

Mr Blunkett added: “I think Mr Miliband has demonstrated on a number of occasions that he can do it, but he won’t be able to do it alone, and nor should he.

“Clem Attlee wasn’t the most vibrant, in public terms, opponent.

“He was a fantastic leader of the Labour party.”

He said that up to the 2015 general election, Labour needed to ‘capture people, not on individual items – because we’ve got some very good individual policies – but on the perspective of where we would be in 2015, and what that government would look like, and what Britain would look like’.

Mr Blunkett called on his party to look at policies such as helping people to join together to negotiate energy bills.

The policy has been implemented by Labour-run councils including Sheffield.

Mr Blunkett said he hoped that older former cabinet ministers would be able to help younger colleagues with advice.