Miliband team hit back after Gove’s blancmange jibe

By Jo-Anna K. Burnett

Ed Miliband's team have hit back after Michael Gove likened the Labour leader to a blancmange.

The education secretary won plaudits from the right for his article in this morning's Telegraph, which likened the Labour leader to a "blancmange in a hurricane".

But in response, Miliband's spokesperson told Politics.co.uk: "Look at the first line of the article, where David Cameron has been working hard for the last ten days … he's been on holiday in Ibiza in the last week," the spokesperson said.

"The only thing David Cameron has been working on is his suntan … Michael Gove doesn't realize the [nightclub] Ministry of Sound isn't a proper government department."

Gove had not held back in his article targeting Miliband, who he accused of failing to speak out on education policy, lacking plans to strengthen the UK in the European Union and being passive when compared to shadow chancellor Ed Balls.

"I write as someone who enjoys debate and discussion and who believes there are substantial figures in Labour's ranks who are capable of fleshing out worthwhile alternative courses," he wrote.

"But, at the moment, they are on the margins. Miliband isn't leading the party anywhere new, interesting or relevant.

"It's no surprise Miliband declines to offer a referendum [on Europe] – he can't ask the electorate to ratify a decision because he seems incapable of making one."

According to Gove, Miliband has never dictated measures to improve schools, yet "Miliband has proclaimed: 'Free schools are the opposite of the thing we need.'"

Labour has consistently been on the wrong side of history, Gove added. He noted that last month Miliband presented himself as one of Margaret Thatcher's students.

"But there is nothing strong in denying your own past and trying to appropriate someone else's," the education secretary added.

"The contrast between the strength of Lady Thatcher and the weakness of Ed Miliband is all the starker when we consider that there is no programme of concrete policies … he is as clearly defined as a blancmange in a hurricane."

Blancmange is a thick white custard milk pudding typically made with corn flour.