Blears: This is the fight of our lives

Labour is facing the “fight of its life” to stay in power, communities secretary Hazel Blears has admitted.

At a packed rally hosted by the Progress thinktank, Ms Blears also renewed her implicit criticism of Gordon Brown originally made to the Independent on Sunday, in which she said the prime minister needed to demonstrate more “emotional intelligence”.

“We need a sharper, clearer analysis,” she told the audience.

The public want “candidates who reflect their language,” she went on.

“We need to sound like we know what’s it’s like to face up to credit card bills.

“This is going to be the fight of our lives.”

At the same meeting, Cabinet secretary Ed Miliband confirmed a noticeable shift to the left from within the party, when he argued “markets had become too powerful”.

“We understand the power of government to shape markets,” he told delegates.

“The Tories just believe in free-market dogma.”

Later in the day, schools secretary Ed Balls told a meeting he did not agree with Peter Mandelson’s infamous quote that New Labour was comfortable with people becoming “filthy rich”.

“I don’t want to live in a society in where there’s a growing gap between rich and poor,” he said.

The comments mark a significant political shift in Labour’s rhetoric since last week’s economic turmoil.

Since Gordon Brown’s intervention proved popular in opinion polls, members of the Cabinet have proved increasingly willing to make left wing comments about the economy.

Mr Brown has pledged to clear up the financial system to try and prevent a further crisis.