Miliband conference speech 2011: Reactions

Reactions to Ed Miliband's conference speech
Reactions to Ed Miliband's conference speech

Prominent Labour politicians tell what they thought of Ed Miliband's conference speech:

Shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander

"I thought it was a very powerful speech because it was a very personal speech. It was a very clear and authentic expression of what Ed Miliband believes in and where he's determined to take not just our party but our country. What's significant is that just a year into his leadership he was talking to the country, not the party. That's a sign of his ambition, his seriousness and the seriousness of the problems facing Britain."

Shadow business secretary John Denham

"I thought it was a great speech. It spoke to everyone in this country who has ever said: 'I work hard, I try to bring my children up right, but somehow I keep being squeezed. There's no pay back for me and other people seem to be getting away with it.'

"That sense that people in Britain have a very strong set of values but actually we've ended up with a society that doesn't reflect them is going to strike a chord right across the country.

[On criticisms of New Labour] "I supported Ed Miliband as leader and in a sense it's not that we're all terrible or we didn't achieve great things – we did. But actually the Britain we left, we did leave a Britain where people said 'you don't stand for us anymore'. That sense of a clash between the way Britain was and the values we held was beginning to come through. There's no point in us now saying that everything was fine until 18 months ago and then this lot came and messed it up. This is the honest judgement of our record. We did some really good things, but there were also things we didn't get right and that we need to change."

Michael Meacher, MP for Oldham West and Royton

"I thought it was a very refreshing speech which I've been wanting to hear from a Labour leader for many, many years: making it clear that we were on behalf of the producers not the predators, that we were in support of responsibility and effort, that that should be rewarded and not the bankers, the Fred Goodwins of this world, the Murdochs. And that we're going to go after them, that we're going to break the closed circle of power and wealth.

"I haven't heard that from a labour leader for a long, long time. That to me is the fundamental role of the Labour party. That's what it was meant to do, that's what it's supposed to do and it's the first time for a long time we've heard a leader say that."

Shahid Malik, former MP for Dewsbury

"It was just what the doctor ordered. He picked on something in the business world, the kinds of businesses we want to support: those that are producers, those that are good for growth, not those that will decimate organisations and strip them apart. There were some very good dividing lines.

"I think throughout he's managed to bring the family together. Everyone enjoyed this speech. I wasn't expecting much. I thought it would be a bog standard speech - pretty polished. But actually I'm quite impressed. It was better than I thought it would be, more uniting than I thought it would be.

"This wasn't about substance, this was about values. Now we've got to develop the substance, to let the public know there are big tangible ideas that differentiate us from the Tories."


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