Advice pours in for Ed Miliband

Senior Labour figures provide advice for Ed Miliband
Senior Labour figures provide advice for Ed Miliband

By staff

Labour's new leader is receiving a mountain of advice over where to take the party after narrowly winning the top job on Saturday.

Ed Miliband's leadership campaign saw him outline policies placing him to the left of his elder brother David, who he beat by a margin of 1.3% overall.

That victory was only secured because of the decisive influence of union members, raising suggestions that 'Red Ed' - as tabloid newspapers are already calling him - will be obliged to adopt their policies.

"Don't move the party to the left," shadow home secretary Alan Johnson urged Mr Miliband in an article for the Independent on Sunday newspaper.

"We know elections are won on the centre ground of politics. We learned that the hard way in the 80s, as did the Tories from 1997 onwards... Recognise also that the Tories, not the Lib Dems, are the target. This is a Tory government with the Lib Dems strapped on as ballast."

Defeated leadership candidate Ed Balls, who came third in the ballot ahead of Andy Burnham and Diane Abbott, is maintaining his calls from the campaign to take the fight to the coalition on the spending cuts agenda.

He warned against pursuing protest votes, instead calling for bold policies from the new leader to present voters with a starker choice on cutting the deficit.

"The lesson for the whole party from that period is that the only way to secure genuine, lasting support from the voters is to set out a distinctive argument and give them a real choice," he wrote in an article for the Observer newspaper.

"We must win the argument that the speed and severity of the coalition's cuts are both unfair and unnecessary, and will put the recovery at risk.

"We must make the case for an alternative plan that puts jobs and growth first. That is the credible way to reduce the deficit and get the economy moving again.

"It is a tough argument to make, but the most vital one to win. We must lead public opinion and not be driven by focus-group polling."


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