Ed Miliband U-turns to meet Pfizer chief Ian Read as AstraZeneca bid rumbles on

  • @ArmitageJim

The political turmoil around Pfizer's £63bn bid for AstraZeneca saw Ed Miliband apparently flip-flopping yesterday after he was criticised for telling the US company's boss that he was too busy to meet him.

Mr Miliband was criticised by David Cameron on Thursday when it emerged that the Labour leader turned down a request to meet Pfizer's chief executive, Ian Read, last month – days before he went on to tell the Government it was not doing enough to stand up for British jobs.

However, Mr Miliband changed his stance yesterday to declare: "I would be very happy to speak to them and I will be doing that next week."

Pfizer, meanwhile, unveiled plans for a research partnership with five British universities – a move some dismissed as trying to smooth relations with an overwhelmingly hostile scientific community.