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UK Politics

Miliband leader speech draft leaked

A difficult week for Ed Miliband was capped today as Labour was hit with more embarrassing leaks.

Amid questions over Mr Miliband's performance as leader, a draft version emerged of the speech his brother David would have delivered if he had won the party's top job.

The former foreign secretary planned to admit that the public finances had not been well managed enough under Labour, and warn that the party could not "deny" the deficit.

A text of the address was obtained by the Guardian. It was never delivered to members at the conference last year, but a crestfallen Mr Miliband is said to have recited it to his wife in the car driving home.

The elder brother would have announced that former chancellor Alistair Darling had agreed to head an all-party commission to draft rules on public spending and deficits - designed to restore lost trust in Labour fiscal discipline.

He was to say that "step one" in recovering public trust over the economy was to "recognise what is obvious: that we did not abolish the business cycle".

"We should never have claimed it. You can't in a market economy. And public spending plans cannot depend on it. Nor can you write your own fiscal rules, and then be judge and jury for how they are calculated and when they are met," he planned to say.

The draft indicates that Mr Miliband would have backed George Osborne's introduction of the Office of Budgetary Responsibility.

"We should have been proposing the creation of the OBR and we should be campaigning today for its accountability to parliament to be strengthened," it insists. "There is no point denying those things: they are true."

Mr Miliband would have told the conference that the deficit was "the biggest argument in politics, and the biggest danger for us. George Osborne says we are in denial about the deficit. Because he wants us to be. So let's not be. It is a test."

He would have argued that "the party will only be trusted when we show in word and deed that the alternative to mean government is lean government".

Mr Miliband stepped away from frontline politics shortly after losing the leadership contest, and has been careful to avoid controversial interventions since.

However, many MPs still question whether the right brother was selected.

Doubts about Ed's future resurfaced this week after he was criticised for failing to capitalise on David Cameron's retreats over NHS reforms and sentencing policy.