Election 2015

Lucy Powell denies doubts over Miliband pledges

Ed Miliband with his stone of pledges Image copyright PA

The vice-chair of Labour's general election campaign, Lucy Powell, has denied suggesting Ed Miliband could break his election pledges.

At the weekend, the Labour leader unveiled a stone tablet with the party's key pledges chiselled into it.

Asked on BBC 5 live if carving them in stone made them more believable, Ms Powell said: "I don't think anyone is suggesting that the fact that he's carved them into stone means that he is absolutely not going to break them or anything like that."

She went on to say Mr Miliband "stands by his promises", adding: "It was just another way of highlighting that, which is that he's a guy of principle, of decency, a guy who is tough and he is going to deliver on his promises he set out, unlike some of this opponents."

The 8ft (2.4m) stone was unveiled on Sunday and quickly prompted its own hashtag #EdStone and was mocked by David Cameron and Nick Clegg.

Criticism of the idea was put to Mr Miliband on BBC Radio 4's Today programme on Monday.

But he said: "Our pledges are carved in stone. I think trust is a huge issue in this election - the difference with our pledges is they are not going to expire on 8 May.

"Nick Clegg went into the last election saying he'd cut tuition fees - he trebled them. David Cameron went into the last election, saying 'no ifs no buts - net migration into the tens of thousands' - it's 298,000.

"We're setting out promises - they don't expire on 8 May. They don't disappear."

Mr Miliband said the stone was "to remind the British people, to remind working people in this country that I'm absolutely serious about changing the way this country works".

'SNP chisels'

In response to Ms Powell's 5 live comments, Conservative Party chairman Grant Shapps said: "Labour know Ed Miliband has no intention of keeping the promises he makes during the election campaign - his sums simply don't add up.

"£30,000 worth of limestone doesn't change the fact that Ed Miliband will say one thing and do another.'

"Labour's campaign is crumbling thanks to Ed Miliband and bungling Lucy Powell - they're just not up to the job."

Ms Powell later responded, tweeting: "Honestly Tories and others desperately mis-quoting what I said. Anyone who heard the whole interview knows I said the opposite."

Mr Miliband was later asked in a BBC television interview if he might break his policies even though they were carved into stone.

"No, I'm absolutely clear, we are going to deliver our policies, we are going to deliver our pledges and that is the reason we carved them in stone," he said.

The introduction of a pledge stone had sparked a spate of social media jokes, with Photoshoppers working overtime to turn Mr Miliband into Moses and more than a few comparisons on Sunday with the BBC political comedy-drama The Thick of It.

Mr Clegg also mocked the stone tablet, telling Lib Dem activists in Bermondsey, south London there was "nothing attractive about the instability of a hapless Labour minority administration, regardless of these great gravestones they are apparently going to erect".

Image copyright Getty Images

The best of BBC News' Election 2015 specials

More on this story