Peter Mandelson accuses Ed Miliband of trying to start a class war

The New Labour figure says his party failed to outline a 'realistic programme'

Jon Stone
Tuesday 19 May 2015 22:58
Peter Mandelson
Peter Mandelson

Ed Miliband pitted “one half of the nation against the other” in a “class war”, one of the masterminds of New Labour has said.

Writing for the US newspaper the New York Times, Lord [Peter] Mandelson said he believed Labour lost the general election because Mr Miliband abandoned the ‘one nation’ rhetoric of his earlier speeches.

“The bigger reason Labour lost the argument is that the British, on the whole, do not like income disparities being turned into class war,” the former business secretary said

“Earlier in his leadership, Mr Miliband fought on a platform of social justice and fairness, using the language of ‘one nation.’ In the campaign, he seemed intent on pitting one half of the nation against the other.”

Lord Mandelson also criticised the Labour leadership for not laying out exactly how he would “change the way the economy works” with a “realistic programme”.

A series of New Labour figures has emerged from the shadows to criticised the former Labour leader’s strategy after his defeat in this month’s general election.

They include Lord Hutton, who accused Labour’s offer of being “old-school socialist”, Alan Johnson and who said Labour must return to the “aspirational” Blair years.

Lord Mandelson served under the last Labour government, most recently as business secretary.

Ed Miliband’s party increased its vote share from 29% under the New Labour government to 30.4% but the Conservatives won a majority due to a collapse in the Liberal Democrat vote.

Labour also lost nearly all of its seats in Scotland due to a surge in support for the Scottish Nationalist Party.

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