After 100 days of sniping it's time to rally round Ed, says ally

A close ally of Ed Miliband has urged Labour to rally behind him and accept that he has a mandate for his policies to make the 50p rate of income tax permanent and bring in a graduate tax.

In an interview with The Independent, Maria Eagle, the shadow Transport Secretary, hit back at sniping at Mr Miliband's performance since he defeated his brother David for the Labour leadership. He clocks up 100 days in his job tomorrow.

"Ed won, fair and square," she said, dismissing criticism that he relied on trade union support and won fewer voters than his brother among MPs and party members. "Everyone who entered that contest knew what the electoral college was and how it worked. That is the end of it," she said.

Ms Eagle, a minister for nine years in four different departments when Labour was in power, was one of only five of the 19 elected Shadow Cabinet members to support Ed Miliband's leadership campaign.

Insiders admit there are tensions over whether Labour's official policies are those in the party's general election manifesto or "Ed's policies". Ms Eagle argued that the central issues on which Mr Miliband fought his leadership campaign were now the "starting point" for Labour's wholesale policy review. They include a permanent 50p rate of tax and a graduate tax to fund universities – both of which have been opposed by Alan Johnson, the shadow Chancellor – and incentives to encourage employers to pay a £7.60 an hour "living wage", higher than the £5.93 an hour national minimum wage.

Ms Eagle said these three flagship policies show that the Labour leader is in touch with people in the real world. "Ed gets it; he connects with people," she said.

On calls for the 50p tax rate to be temporary, she insisted: "The idea that the priority might be to offer tax cuts for people on £150,000 a year... that is not where the country is at."

The MP for Liverpool Garston and Halewood rejects criticism that Mr Miliband has lost momentum. "We are all having to adjust to opposition. That is not easy after you have been in government for a long time. There is a lot of Westminster village chat but I think he has done pretty well," she said. "He has made the right calls on the central economic argument and that is coming through in the polls."

Ms Eagle urged Mr Miliband to ignore sniping from Blairites who claim he was wrong to dump a New Labour brand which won three general elections. "Ed is right to emphasise a break with the past, and to move on from that argument between old Labour and New Labour," she said.

Does Mr Miliband's edict that Labour should call the Government "Tory-led" reflect its fears that the Coalition might be popular with the public? "The word [coalition] is quite a cuddly word," she said. "I don't think we have got a cuddly government."

On her transport brief, Ms Eagle said a key issue for Labour's policy review will be the balance between what the user pays and public subsidies. She claimed the Tories do not see the wider social value of transport or public spending generally.

"Their attitude is that spending benefits only the person who receives the service," she said. Labour must show there is a "collective benefit" – for example, that a good transport system helps the unemployed to find work, which is good for the economy.

"I don't see transport as just about trains and buses," she said. "I want to see it in a much broader context."

Although the proposed high-speed rail link was championed with passion by Lord Adonis, Transport Secretary in the previous Labour government, Ms Eagle has an "open mind" about it, adding that there are "no no-go areas" for the party's review. As Climate Change Secretary, Ed Miliband was against a third runway at Heathrow Airport even though the Labour government backed the project. Now that it has been cancelled by the Coalition, Ms Eagle argued that Labour does not need a policy on it, but promises one on aviation in due course. She admitted that money will be tight – one reason why the £30bn high-speed rail project will need to be re-evaluated.

Any disputes over transport's slice of Labour's cake could pit her against her twin sister Angela, who is in charge of the purse strings as shadow Chief Treasury Secretary. "I might have a hotline; we never row," Maria quipped. "But she might be harder on me than she would be on anyone else. Rational argument is what persuades Angela."

The Miliband Audit

Highs

Outshines David Cameron at his first Prime Minister's Question Time in October

Forces Cameron to make U-turns on sport in schools and books for young children

Labour attracts 50,000 new members since May election

Labour ahead in opinion polls as former Lib Dem voters desert Nick Clegg's party

Lows

Shambolic interview on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, when he struggles to define the "squeezed middle"

Poor PMQs session in November in which Cameron asks when he was "going to start" doing his job

Not escaping shadow of his brother David, as some Labour MPs wonder whether the party picked "the wrong Miliband"

His two-week paternity leave fuelled criticism that the party is drifting and lacks vision

Arts and Entertainment
Sydney and Melbourne are locked in a row over giant milk crates
art
News
Netherlands' goalkeeper Tim Krul fails to make a save from Costa Rica's midfielder Celso Borges during a penalty shoot-out in the quarter-final between Netherlands and Costa Rica during the 2014 FIFA World Cup
newsGoalkeepers suffer from 'gambler’s fallacy' during shoot-outs
News
A scene from the video shows students mock rioting
newsEnd-of-year leaver's YouTube film features playground gun massacre
Travel
travel
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Voices
A family sit and enjoy a quiet train journey
voicesForcing us to overhear dull phone conversations is an offensive act
News
Two giraffes pictured on Garsfontein Road, Centurion, South Africa.
i100
News
i100This Instagram photo does not prove Russian army is in Ukraine
News
Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
peopleActor, from House of Cards and Benidorm, was 68
News
Morrissey pictured in 2013
people
Sport
sportVan Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Environment
View from the Llanberis Track to the mountain lake Llyn
Du’r Arddu
environmentA large chunk of Mount Snowdon, in north Wales, is up for sale
Life and Style
Martha Stewart wrote an opinion column for Time magazine this week titled “Why I Love My Drone”
lifeLifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot... to take photos of her farm
News
i100
Life and Style
The director of Wall-E Andrew Stanton with Angus MacLane's Lego model
gadgetsDesign made in Pixar animator’s spare time could get retail release
News
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
Environment
Tyred out: should fair weather cyclists have a separate slow lane?
environmentFormer Labour minister demands 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists
News
people
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

VB.Net Developer - £40k - Surrey - WANTED ASAP

£35000 - £40000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: .Mid Level V...

Digitakl Business Analyst, Slough

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Competitive Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: Dig...

Mechanical Estimator: Nuclear Energy - Sellafield

£40000 - £50000 per annum + Car, Medical, Fuel + More!: Progressive Recruitmen...

Dynamics NAV Techno-Functional Consultant

£50000 - £60000 per annum + benefits: Progressive Recruitment: An absolutely o...

Day In a Page

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices