Ed Miliband shrugged of suggestions superficial issues might inhibit his leadership of the Labour party on Tuesday morning.
During a New Year's interview on BBC Radio 4's Today programme he was asked by John Humphrys about comments the late Robin Cook made about being "too ugly" to run for Labour leader.
Humphrys asked: " I can remember talking to Robin Cook, when John Smith died. I can remember talking privately to Robin Cook. Now that he's sadly died, of course. Everybody accepted that he was a brilliant politician. Brilliant mind, brilliant orator, could have been a great leader. I asked him if he was going to go for it and he said 'no and I said 'why not'. He said 'they wouldn't have me, I'm too ugly.'..
"I am not suggesting for a moment that you, Ed Miliband, are too ugly... What I am suggesting to you is that there are some qualities needed in a leader that you may decide at some point you don't have and that you're become a bit of a drag on the party."
Miliband claimed criticism of his leadership amounted to "noises off", adding: "Don't declare the result of the race when it is not yet half- run. I have a very strong inner belief that I will win the race."
He insisted that standing for the Labour leadership, against his elder brother David, had been "difficult"
And Miliband said he did not agree Labour peer Lord Glasman's claims Labour's economic policy was not working. "I don't agree with him when he says it is all crap."
Listen to the full interview here