Ed Miliband faced new questions over his leadership today, after weeks of serious concerns about his ability to lead the party into the General Election next year. A former shadow cabinet member admitted in the Guardian that it is a “challenge” to get voters engaged with Mr Miliband, whom the paper described as a “Hampstead intellectual and policy wonk”.
Tom Watson, who resigned as Miliband’s campaign co-ordinator in 2013, said: “Positioning and speeches in Westminster are not going to cut it. We’ve got to do it totally differently. What should the shadow cabinet be doing? Getting out into the country and explaining Labour’s message!
“We know there are people out there who like the policies of Labour, but are slightly concerned about whether the team at the top are going to deliver it. Get out there and convince them! Get into the town halls, get on soap boxes, get out there and explain what Labour stands for.”
He continued: “I’m very frustrated because I just want them to be fired up and get out there, because it’s a compelling offer we’ve got. So explain it! If I’m sounding frustrated it’s because I want us to win. And I want the shadow cabinet to want to win as well. I want it to be fired up and get out there, because there are people out there that need us!”
The comments come on the same day Stephen Kinnock, son of the former Labour leader Lord Kinnock, criticised the Labour leadership in the Huffington Post. He said: “I accept that we are not where we should be… We are missing a trick. I don’t think it is too late.
“There is time to do some of that outreach and get two or three big business leaders to endorse us, and endorse what we stand for, going into the next election.”
Serious concerns about Miliband’s leadership continue to circle amongst Labour MPs in Westminster. A number have privately admitted they would force Miliband’s resignation if there were a credible alternative but so far all the mooted candidates have ruled themselves out.