Labour Party could be heading for '15 years in the wilderness' if Ed Miliband fails to win general election in 2015

As Labour grandee stands down, he says Miliband ‘will win’ in 2015 – but signals the cost of defeat

Pressure on Ed Miliband was heightened yesterday when one of his party’s senior figures warned that Labour risks 15 years in the political wilderness if it does not win the next election.

David Blunkett, the former home secretary and education secretary, said he believed the Labour leader will lead his party to victory next May, but added that defeat would put them out of power until 2030.

The grim assessment from Mr Blunkett, as he announced he will stand down as an MP for Sheffield Brightside at the next election, will add to the concern among Labour MPs and activists that Mr Miliband is not doing enough to convince people he can win. The Labour leader painted himself as the underdog last week, admitting that the odds were moving against him.

In an interview with Radio 4, Mr Blunkett said: “I think we would be in the wilderness for as much as 15 years because all the changes that the Conservative majority government would bring in would actually not be about fairness or equity or even sharing power, it would be about excluding the Labour Party.”

Mr Blunkett also said a Tory government will push on with boundary changes, amounting to a loss for Labour of 20 to 30 seats; changes to funding arrangements that would disadvantage the party; as well as “packing quangos and public agencies with their own people”.

The former minister insisted he supported Mr Miliband, saying: “Ed Miliband will lead us to victory, I believe he can and I believe he will.”

Even critics of Mr Miliband from inside his own party are not yet contemplating deposing him, because there is no obvious successor.

Blunkett in 1973 Blunkett in 1973 A disgruntled shadow minister who wanted Mr Miliband to step down after last month’s disappointing local election results warned that, as things stand, “there’s no point in regicide if you haven’t got a king in waiting”.

A spokesman for Mr Miliband said: “What Ed Miliband set out to do three and a half years ago is something which no opposition has done since 1979, which is to win power back after one term ... he knows he is in a tough fight but we are in a place where we can win and we are absolutely determined that we will win ... for the sake of the country.”

Mr Blunkett, 67, twice resigned from Cabinet posts under Tony Blair but told local party members that standing down as MP was “by far the most difficult political decision I have ever made”.

Meanwhile, Mr Blunkett is calling on universities to look at a student’s involvement with charity work before deciding whether to give them a place.

He has chaired an inquiry into charitable giving which recommends that Ucas, the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service, should include a section on its application forms for would-be students to give details of their involvement in fundraising and volunteering.

Blunkett in 1986 Blunkett in 1986 “I think that already some universities are beginning to really take seriously ... what youngsters have done in this field,” he told The Independent on Sunday.

Mr Blunkett’s inquiry found that donations from the under-30s had tailed off during the past three decades – from 8 per cent to 3 per cent of contributions, according to the Charities Aid Foundation, which conducted research for the inquiry, and Bristol University.

Faint praise

David Blunkett on Radio 4, 21 June: “He [Miliband] is the only man and he is the only man because he is our leader. Nobody is going to challenge him, he is in a unique position, actually because Tony Blair was bedevilled and in the latter days so was Gordon Brown. Ed is free of that.”

Lord Mandelson on Newsnight, 18 June: “In my view, he is the leader we have and therefore the leader I support and somebody who I believe is capable of leading the party to victory.”

John Prescott, on Miliband holding up The Sun, 16 June: “No doubt advisers give advice but you can’t keep blaming advisers. At the end of the day a leader must make a judgement and he will be judged on his judgement. I wouldn’t have done it.”

Ed Balls on the Labour leader’s Budget response, 19 March: “It was a difficult speech for Ed Miliband.”

Tony Blair, 14 June 2011: “I’m content to give Ed my 100 per cent full support.”

Neil Kinnock, 23 May 2010: “Tony Blair is a method actor and there is no thespian in Ed Miliband, so it’s that much more natural ... so it is not the Blair thing, it is just Ed, you know.”

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
people
Travel
travel
Arts and Entertainment
Sydney and Melbourne are locked in a row over giant milk crates
artCultural relations between Sydney and Melbourne soured by row over milk crate art instillation
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
Arts and Entertainment
Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux play teeneage lovers in the French erotic drama 'Blue Is The Warmest Colour' - The survey found four times as many women admitting to same-sex experiences than 20 years ago
arts + entsBlue Is The Warmest Colour, Bojack Horseman and Hobbit on the way
News
Two giraffes pictured on Garsfontein Road, Centurion, South Africa.
i100
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
News
Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
peopleBenidorm, actor was just 68
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
News
people
News
Morrissey pictured in 2013
people
News
A scene from the video shows students mock rioting
newsEnd-of-year leaver's YouTube film features playground gun massacre
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
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

Lead Application Developer

£80000 - £90000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: I am current...

Senior Networks Architect

£65000 per annum + 15% Pension, Health, Travel & Bonus: Progressive Recruitmen...

SAP BW/BO Consultant

£55000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: SAP BW/BO CONSU...

Hydraulic Power Pack Design Engineer

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: I recruit for contract mechanical design...

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