'Lacklustre' Ed Miliband staring at defeat, warns Labour MP George Mudie

Mr Mudie said he was 'deeply worried' about Labour’s election prospects

A senior Labour MP has criticised Ed Miliband’s leadership as lacklustre and warned that the party may be drifting to defeat at the 2015 general election.

George Mudie, a former minister, said Labour MPs have little idea about the party’s policy on key issues such as welfare, education and health, so the public would know even less about where it stood.

Although Miliband aides dismissed the veteran MP’s attack, it reflected growing concern in the party about its shrinking opinion poll lead. He is the first Labour MP to voice such  fears in public.

Mr Mudie said he was “deeply worried” about Labour’s election prospects. “I have difficulty knowing what we stand for now,” he told the BBC. “We are 18 months away from an election thinking that we will put out a document on all these major items and the public will say ‘Oh great’.” He added: “Often ... the Government is setting the agenda, making the weather and we’re responding to it. Tony Blair and Gordon Brown never did that.”

Mr Mudie, an ally of Mr Brown, voted for Ed Balls in the Labour leadership election of 2010 but made Ed Miliband his second choice. Today he suggested that Mr Miliband was “young”, “still trying to find himself” and “cocooned” by loyal advisers operating with a “bunker mentality”.

He described Labour as “slightly hesitant” and “slightly confused”. He said: “There has to be and there is some concern that the lead we have in the polls, first of all is not firm enough. Big enough –but will it withstand a general election discussion?”

Mr Mudie, who described himself as “a bad-tempered, cynical old individual”, warned that  Labour had to offer a genuine alternative in order to win in 2015: “Why would you vote Labour, if we’re not offering something different? They’ll stick with what they’ve got.”

He added: “So if you’re not getting a clear enough message to me, and to some of my colleagues, what are you, what kind of message do you think you’re putting out there?”

A Labour source replied: “George Mudie admits he is at the bad tempered, cynical end of the Labour Party. He spent a large part of the previous government criticising Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.”

Sadiq Khan, the shadow Justice Secretary and a close ally of Mr Miliband, said: “We haven’t got the luxury that George had between 1992 and 1997 of being out of power for 18 years. That means learning the lessons, but doing the heavy lifting.”

But he agreed with Mr Mudie that Labour had to set the agenda and be relevant.

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

Recruitment Genius: Home Care / Support Workers

£7 - £10 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This care provider is looking for Home ...

Recruitment Genius: Web Team Leader

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's leading web des...

Recruitment Genius: Client Manager

£27000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A growing, successful, friendly...

Recruitment Genius: Property Negotiator - OTE £20,000+

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This family owned, independent ...

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'