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Sunday, February 01, 2015

Labour face civil war

If Ed Miliband thought that the approaching General Election would unite his party behind him then he might need to think again. According to today's Sunday Times, senior Labour figures have warned that the party faces a new civil war over the party’s direction whether Ed Miliband wins the general election or not.

The paper says that Miliband was accused last night of lacking “substantive policy positions” on key areas such as the economy and failing to devise plans that can “unite the party”.:

They add that Blairites in the shadow cabinet are planning to demand that the Labour leader backs more radical reforms of the public services if he becomes prime minister.

And in the event of a Labour defeat, the group of frontbenchers, dubbed “Neo Labour”, wants to back a “healing candidate” for leader to end the Brownite stranglehold on the party represented by Miliband and Ed Balls, the shadow chancellor.

They say that in coded criticism of Miliband, one senior figure said: “What we need is someone who is comfortable with every bit of the Labour party.”:

After a week of chaos a new war of words erupted last night between old and young Blairites and left and rightwingers.

Patrick Diamond, a former adviser to Blair and Lord Mandelson, said Labour still lacked “settled” policies on the economy and the public services and warned that differences could not be swept under the carpet for much longer.

He said: “Win or lose the election, there will still be a major debate after May 2015 about how Labour intends to modernise the public services and manage the economy effectively for the future.”

Diamond criticised Miliband’s decision to “draw a line under the entire period” of Blair “and say that most of what Labour did was wrong or is now irrelevant”.

Liz Kendall, the deputy to Andy Burnham, the shadow health secretary, said that Milburn had been “plain wrong” to speak out.

Last night three more leading Blairites elected in 2010 rounded on Milburn and Hutton, telling them to shut up until election day amid fears their intervention will damage efforts to push Miliband to the political centre ground.

It really isn't looking very encouraging for Miliband at all.
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