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UK Politics

Former Labour minister Brian Wilson attacks Ed Miliband’s potential to be prime minister

Brian Wilson said the party leader should 'look in the mirror' and face up to the fact he was not convincing voters

Ed Miliband has come under withering attack from a former Labour minister who warned his opinion poll ratings were “somewhere between dire and disappointing”.

Brian Wilson said the Labour leader should “look in the mirror” and face up to the fact he was not convincing voters he was a prime minister-in-waiting.

He denounced the Shadow Cabinet as “lightweight” and called for the former ministers Alan Johnson and Alistair Darling to be returned to the Labour front bench.

His onslaught followed weeks of sniping at the failure of Mr Miliband and the Shadow Cabinet to mount an aggressive attack on the Coalition over the summer.

Writing in The Scotsman, Mr Wilson said he had “never been quite clear” why Mr Miliband thought he should be Labour leader.

“Ed has now had two years to provide that answer and it is clearly still work in progress,” he said.

“His poll ratings are somewhere between dire and disappointing. The latest survey of Labour voters shows that fewer than half of them want him to lead the party into a general election in two years' time.”

Mr Wilson, a former energy minister under Tony Blair, said: “Anyone who seeks to be leader of a potential party of government has an obligation to look in the mirror and honestly answer the question: 'Will the electorate ever assent to me being prime minister?'”

He said Mr Miliband was “not yet” faring as badly as Gordon Brown or Michael Foot, he said, but should now “weigh the advice he is receiving”.

Mr Wilson said the Labour leader must strengthen his team, “focus” his messages and bring in different people who will remind voters why they need a Labour government.