Local elction results 2014: 'Ed Miliband is damaged goods,' says shadow minister


Ed Miliband will attempt to override concerns about his leadership among the Shadow Cabinet with a speech this week promising to restore trust in politics among voters who deserted Labour for Ukip.

Returning to the scene of Labour's bruising local election defeat in Thurrock, where the party lost control of the council after a surge for Nigel Farage's party, Mr Miliband will acknowledge the "deep sense of discontent" among voters over the way the country is run.

But in a fresh blow to the Labour leader, a shadow minister told The Independent on Sunday that Mr Miliband had to step down, claiming he was "damaged goods" and "not a prime minister". The anonymous comment was the latest in a series from MPs and insiders who are concerned that Mr Miliband cannot deliver an outright victory for Labour next year.

The Labour leader will return to the campaign trail after a difficult week in which shadow cabinet ministers expressed concerns over the way the local and European election campaigns had been conducted, with senior figures left sidelined. Despite council gains of 300 seats, this fell short of the 500 that many believed would show Labour to be a government-in-waiting.

But there was some good news for Mr Miliband, with a poll of marginal seats showing Labour has a 12-point lead over the Conservatives, far larger than the national voting intention – although half of the constituencies are held by opposition MPs. The poll by Lord Ashcroft, a former Tory vice-chairman, of 26 seats puts Labour on 41 per cent, the Tories on 29 per cent, Ukip on 18 and the Lib Dems on 8 per cent.

The IoS understands, however, that the internal fighting in Labour circles goes further than disputes over the running of last week's elections. Senior party figures are at odds over Labour's involvement in the campaign to keep Scotland part of the United Kingdom, with some accusing Douglas Alexander, an influential figure in the Scottish party as well as Mr Miliband's election chief, of failing to "roll up his sleeves and get stuck in" in the fight against independence.

The shadow Home Secretary, Yvette Cooper, and the shadow Chancellor, Ed Balls, were said to be urging Mr Miliband to put forward a sharper message on immigration, and some MPs have questioned why Mr Miliband did not take on Mr Farage directly in a leaders debate.

After the embarrassment last week over Mr Miliband's gobbling of a bacon sandwich, his forgetting the name of the leader of Swindon's Labour group and his struggle to know how much his family spent on food, party figures said that Mr Miliband "needs an Anji" – referring to Tony Blair's gatekeeper Anji Hunter, who would always tell Mr Blair the price of milk and the names of local councillors he went into an interview.

The minister was blunter, saying: "Miliband has got to go. He's damaged goods, he's not a prime minister. It's not just that he's odd-looking and is a bit weird; it's that this impression is now embedded. It's not just him; his backroom team are diabolically bad. If the party doesn't wake up and smell the coffee, we will be staring at defeat when there are all the ingredients for us to win."

In an attempt to rise above the speculation, the Labour leader will say in his speech on Tuesday: "The local elections show Labour can win because it is our party which is winning where it matters in dozens of our target seats for the next election. "

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Seth Rollins cashes in his Money in the Bank contract to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
WWERollins win the WWE World Heavyweight title in one of the greatest WrestleMania's ever seen
Arts and Entertainment
Louis Theroux: By Reason of Insanity takes him behind the bars again
tvBy Reason of Insanity, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap
videoThe political parody genius duo strike again with new video
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark, TV review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
2015 General Election

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Junior Web Designer - Client Liaison

£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...

Recruitment Genius: Service Delivery Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor