UK Politics

Labour is at the centre of UK politics, says Miliband

Ed Miliband
Image caption Ed Miliband said Labour was dealing with the issues relevant to modern-day voters

Labour leader Ed Miliband has urged his party against "indulgence and looking inwards" as it searches to regain power at the next election.

He told the BBC he was at the "centre" of UK politics, following Tony Blair's warning that Labour could become merely a "party of protest".

"He's entitled to his view," Mr Miliband said, but added that he was focusing on issues relevant to voters.

He also said there would not be an immediate shadow cabinet reshuffle.

In a speech on Friday, Mr Blair, who was prime minister from 1997 to 2007, delivered his most scathing criticism yet of successor Gordon Brown.

He said Labour had lost the "driving rhythm" underpinning its electoral success under his stewardship - and that it had abandoned the "centre ground" vote courted during the New Labour era.

In an apparent warning to Mr Miliband, he said: "Parties of the left have a genetic tendency, deep in their DNA, to cling to the analysis that they lose because the leadership is insufficiently committed to being left.

"There is always a slightly curious problem with this, since usually we have lost to a party of the right."

'Speak outward'

But Mr Miliband insisted on BBC One's Andrew Marr Show that Labour was not moving to the left under his leadership, adding: "There's a new central ground in our politics."

The party was dealing with "relevant" issues like the role of the press, bankers' bonuses and the impact of inflation on people's standard of living, he argued.

Mr Miliband said: "One of the things we have got to do is run from the centre. I'm leading the Labour Party, leading it in the interests of the country."

Earlier this week, Labour MPs backed Mr Miliband's plans to scrap the system of elections to the shadow cabinet every two years.

If backed by the party's annual conference this autumn, it would allow the leader to choose his own frontbench team.

Asked if this would result in changes, Mr Miliband said: "I'm not going to immediately reshuffle my shadow cabinet."

He added: "The reason I did that is I believe it's important our party speaks outward to the country and doesn't look inwards.

"We are trying to do something difficult and be a one-term opposition. We have got no time for indulgence and looking inwards."

Mr Miliband was asked about the prospects of his brother, David, whom he narrowly defeated in last year's Labour leadership election, returning to the shadow cabinet.

He said David had made his position" very clear" that this would not happen soon.

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