A former Labour whip has criticised Ed Miliband for his failure to “attack the Government” during the parliamentary recess and called for Lord Mandelson to return as the Opposition’s chief spin-doctor.
Graham Stringer, the MP for Blackley and Broughton, said there was “real worry” that the Labour leadership had not made a statement of intent during the summer break. He is the latest senior Labour politician to suggest there is complacency following criticism of the party’s approach from shadow ministers Andy Burnham and Jim Fitzpatrick.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4, Mr Stringer said: “The real worry is the almost deafening silence there has been from the Shadow Cabinet in a time of the year which is traditionally a ripe time for the Opposition to attack the Government.”
While Mr Stringer said he was not questioning Mr Miliband’s role as leader, he warned that the sense of unity among MPs was “a bit of a mirage” and suggested that Lord Mandelson could take charge of the party’s communications.
“There’s no doubt that when Lord Mandelson held that kind of position, the party was more cogent and coherent,” he said.
A backbench MP John Mann urged Labour members to “stop whingeing” and called for a show of “iron discipline”.
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