Manifesto loyalty divides Miliband brothers

Ed Miliband taking on David Miliband for the Labour party leadership
Ed Miliband taking on David Miliband for the Labour party leadership

By staff

A fundamental difference of attitude to the party's election manifesto emerged between Labour leadership rivals Ed Miliband and David Miliband last night.

At a New Statesman hustings event former foreign secretary David Miliband put his weight behind the Labour party manifesto in its entirety, while ex-energy secretary Ed Miliband distanced himself from the document he was charged with writing.

"I'm not the kind of person to stand on a manifesto in May and then say I'm going to tippex out parts of it," David Miliband said.

Ed Miliband responded: "There is a distinction between decisiveness and obstinacy. How can you see you're going to stand on every aspect of our manifesto? We lost that election."

The hustings was attended by all five of the candidates who succeeded in getting the required 33 nominations - with Diane Abbott joining Andy Burnham and Ed Balls in the contest.

Ms Abbott had only secured 11 nominations on Tuesday morning. But John McDonnell's withdrawal from the race, together with support from Jack Straw, Harriet Harman and David Miliband, helped her over the line.

"I think you'll find I'll give the boys a run for their money," she said in an interview on Newsnight yesterday.

She outlined her opposition to Trident, desire to "recapture" the civil liberties agenda from the Conservatives and wish to secure a "timetable for withdrawal" from Afghanistan.

Ms Abbott also offered a distinctive take on how to deal with Britain's structural deficit, which the coalition government is tackling by focusing on cutting spending rather than raising taxes.

"I think we should look at levels of tax, particularly on the higher paid. We still have some of the highest levels of tax for the lowest paid in Europe," she added.

"The assumption now is we're going to raise most of the money from public expenditure cuts. We need to raise more money from taxation, including from the banks."

The result of the Labour leadership election will be announced on September 25th, before the party's autumn conference begins in Manchester.


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