'We had the wrong leader, the wrong approach - we couldn't have got it more wrong'. The inquest into Ed Miliband's failure deepens

Prominent New Labour figure Alan Milburn delivers the harshest critique to date of Ed Miliband's leadership

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Indy Politics

Labour "couldn't have got it more wrong" by electing Ed Miliband, one of the architects of New Labour has said in one of the harshest critiques of the the former leader's campaign.

Alan Milburn, who served in several key Cabinet roles throughout Tony Blair's premiership, said Mr Miliband was the "the wrong leader" who had "the wrong approach". "Inevitably, we paid the price," he added as he urged the party to learn the lessons of the last five years and shift back towards the centre of British politics.

Unsurprisingly he backed Liz Kendall, seen as the Blairite candidate in the party's leadership contest. He said she offered the "freshest perspective" of all the four candidates.

Mr Milburn, who is chair of the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission, blamed Mr Miliband and his supporters for "destructively" shifting the party towards the left, which had "sunk" Labour and turned a "dominant political force" under New Labour into a party that could be out of power for at least another decade.

The former health secretary, making a speech at the Centre for Social Justice, said: "We had the wrong leader and we had the wrong approach. Inevitably, we paid the price. We could not have got it more wrong.

“Too many in Labour’s ranks have deliberately and destructively turned their backs on the formula that turned Labour into the dominant political force in British politics for a decade and a half. That foolish revisionism has not saved the Labour Party. It has sunk it."

He added: "Too many in Labour kidded themselves that the ghastly experiment of a core vote strategy would pay off," he said. "Voters couldn’t be fooled. Ed bet the house they had moved to the left when on issues like immigration and Europe they had, arguably, gone the other way."