Miliband vows to move beyond New Labour

Ed Miliband will try to silence his critics today by spelling out his strategy for Labour to reconnect with the voters with whom it lost touch during 13 years in power.

In an important speech, the Labour leader will tell his party that it cannot offer "more of the same" and must move "beyond New Labour" as it learns the lessons from its election defeat in May.

But internal Labour sniping at his performance grew yesterday after he struggled to define his flagship plan to appeal to Britain's "squeezed middle" in a BBC Radio 4 interview. He appeared to suggest that the group covered 90 per cent of the population.

Pressed repeatedly by John Humphrys on the Today programme, an uncomfortable Mr Miliband said he was talking about people with incomes "above and below" £26,000 a year but declined to be more specific.

He also raised eyebrows by saying he almost joined Wednesday's student protest over university tuition fees. "I was quite tempted to go out and talk to them," he said. "I applaud young people who peacefully demonstrate." Asked why he did not join the marchers, he replied: "I think I was doing something else at the time."

The Tories accused him of "dithering" and even some Labour MPs were privately alarmed at his attempt to sit on the fence.

Today, Mr Miliband will describe the "squeezed middle" as families on low and middle incomes with whom Labour lost touch, who are being offered little by the Coalition Government and are most exposed to its squeeze on living standards and spending cuts.

He will tell Labour's national policy forum in Gillingham: "The hard truth is that New Labour, which set out to help people have a better life, lost its way.

"It is our job now to learn the lessons of that defeat so we go into the next election with a new solutions for the future that provide better answers to the questions people ask of us – how will we help them find security? How will we help them achieve their hopes and dreams?

"We need better answers to those questions. Because more of the same will not close the gap between what people want out of life and what they can achieve at the moment. That is why we need to move beyond New Labour."

Mr Miliband will announce details of Labour's root-and-branch policy review. He will insist that it will be an outward-looking process in which local parties and trade unions will hold "one million conversations" with members of the public. Working groups will be chaired by Shadow Cabinet members but will include outside experts such as businessmen and academics. Think tanks and charities will be invited to submit ideas.

A Labour spokesman said: "We want this process to be rooted in real people's lives. We want it to lead to real change in our movement. Ed is determined that Labour mustn't retreat into a discussion with itself. He wants Labour to reach out in a way it was never able to do while in government, and draw on the best ideas from across the political landscape."

Separate task forces give some clues to Mr Miliband's agenda. One will cover fair pay, including greater transparency over high and equal pay and the idea of a living wage higher than the national minimum wage. A group on personal debt will consider the case for tighter rules on lending. Other issues to be addressed include volunteering, the victims of crime, isolation and loneliness, low pay and small businesses.

The policy reviews will cover the economy, public service reform, families and carers, political reform and defence and security.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Voices
voices
News
general electionThis quiz matches undecided voters with the best party for them
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen starred in the big screen adaptation of Austen's novel in 2005
tvStar says studios are forcing actors to get buff for period roles
News
Prince William and his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge show their newly-born daughter, their second child, to the media outside the Lindo Wing at St Mary's Hospital in central London, on 2 May 2015.
news
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

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

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Recruitment Consultant / Account Manager - Surrey / SW London

£40000 per annum + realistic targets: Ashdown Group: A thriving recruitment co...

Ashdown Group: Part-time Payroll Officer - Yorkshire - Professional Services

£25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful professional services firm is lo...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before