Labour's old guard take sides after Mandelson goes on attack

Labour's grandees were locked in a furious battle of words yesterday as they took opposing sides over which of the Miliband brothers should be the party's next leader.

Peter Mandelson, Labour's veteran spin doctor, was the first to ignore the pretence that supporters of the rival camps are all good friends really to make personal attacks yesterday on Ed Miliband and two of his big-name backers – the ex-leader Lord Kinnock and his ex-deputy, Lord Hattersley.

This provoked a furious reply from Lord Kinnock who said: "Atavists like Peter Mandelson are indulging in the sort of factionalism that has inflicted such damage on our party in ancient and modern history. He should stop it now."

Lord Hattersley added: "What the party needs is a clean start. That requires admissions of mistakes made during the Blair years. Peter Mandelson doesn't want that to happen because many of those mistakes were down to him."

Speaking to the BBC yesterday, Lord Mandelson complained that candidates in the leadership campaign were "defining themselves against New Labour" and were therefore "slamming the door on millions of people in Britain".

He added: "David (Miliband) isn't saying that. Ed (Miliband) sometimes allows his rhetoric to run away with him and allows the impression to be created that rather than pivoting forwards from now he wants to pivot back to some pre-New Labour stage." Earlier, he told The Times newspaper that Lords Kinnock and Hattersley were men "of a certain age" who "want to hark back to a previous age".

His remarks were intended to persuade Labour Party members to vote for David Miliband when their ballot papers arrive by post in the next few days. But the shadow Foreign Secretary, who has been the front runner throughout the contest, appeared to be embarrassed yesterday by Lord Mandelson's unsolicited support.

"Party members, including me, are sick and tired of the old battles of the past being rerun," he said. "It's time to move on. That's why my campaign has unified people, from across the party. We all want the same thing: a forward-looking agenda, a break with the battles of the past and all our fire focused on the Coalition."

His sentiments were echoed by Andy Burnham, one of the outside candidates in the race. He said: "It is sad that senior Labour figures who are supporting the front runners are building this into a fight between Old and New Labour. Labour members are sick to the back teeth of it."

Although polls suggest that the contest is now between the Miliband brothers, the outsider Ed Balls will keep his campaign alive today with a speech in which he will call for £6bn to be invested in building 100,000 new affordable homes to ease the housing crisis and reduce unemployment.

Writing on the LabourList website, Mr Balls said: "The now daily episodes of the Miliband soap opera suit those who want to keep this a two-horse race, but do not do justice to the issues at stake in this election."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
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

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: SThree were established in 1986....

Recruitment Genius: SAGE Bookkeeper & PA to Directors

£18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity has ari...

Recruitment Genius: Online Sales and Customer Services Executive

£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An On-line Sales & Customer Ser...

Recruitment Genius: Accounts Assistant - Fixed Term Contract - 6 Months

£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the largest hospitality companies...

Day In a Page

Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

Something wicked?

Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
10 best sun creams for body

10 best sun creams for body

Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games
Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with cynicism and greed
How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map