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UK Politics

Lord Prescott warns Labour they 'massively failed' to get their case over to the public this summer

The former deputy leader has urged  Ed Miliband to give under-performing members of the cabinet the 'hairdryer treatment' and 'kick 'em out'

Labour has wasted the summer by not using it to communicate the party message to the public, former deputy leader Lord Prescott has warned today.

Writing in his column in the Sunday Mirror, John Prescott said the party failed to set agendas and instead holidayed abroad, whilst the Conservatives worked hard "to put together a planned communication grid of issues and activity".

Using a series of football analogies to critique Labour's strategies, he argued the party had "missed open goals" by not "holding the Tories to account". 

He urged current leader Ed Miliband to follow the example of former Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson and give under-performing members of his shadow cabinet the "hairdryer treatment" and "kick 'em out".

Lord Prescott made comparisons between Labour in 1996, where he served under Tony Blair and "led all the Labour summer campaigns" and Mr Miliband's cabinet in 2013.

He argued that Labour "failed to make the case" for Labour's policies and ideas, citing that many members of the shadow cabinet were instead on holidays during the warmer months.

"Bar a push on the cost of living, we didn’t set agendas, we followed the news and got nowhere. Even Shadow Cabinet ministers stopped tweeting at the end of July. I don’t begrudge people having holidays, certainly not Ed, who is Labour’s manager," he said.

"But you’ve still got to put out an effective team and have a good captain. I was Tony’s when he managed Labour United."

"Our campaigning was guided by the essential principle that the politics of organisation were just as important as the politics of ideas.

"Our four aims were to defend Labour’s record, support the Labour leadership, encourage greater participation in the party and highlight the damage a Conservative government would do to Britain. Those aims are still relevant today!

"But what’s happened since 2010?"

Lord Prescott said Mr Miliband needed a strong captain "to ensure the team works together on the pitch" and urged him to "kick out" under-performing members.

He stressed that time is running out for the party, but all was not lost. "We can still turn it around and win in the second half. But we need the very best team, week in, week out."