POLITICS

Ed Miliband's 'Confused' Leadership Savaged By Labour MP George Mudie

01/08/2013 13:25 BST | Updated 01/08/2013 17:42 BST
PA

A former Labour minister has attacked Ed Miliband's "confused" leadership of the party and warned that David Cameron was successfully "setting the agenda".

In an interview with BBC Radio 4's World at One programme on Thursday afternoon, George Mudie said he had "difficulty knowing what we stand for" and said Labour's poll lead was "not firm enough, big enough" this close to the general election.

Mudie, who has been MP for Leeds East for over 20 years, served as a education minister and whip under Tony Blair and was seen to be part of the Gordon Brown camp during the last Labour government.

"At the moment, the government are setting the agenda, making the weather and we're responding to it. Tony Blair and Gordon Brown never did that," he said. "We're not setting any agenda, we're responding to the Tories."

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"I have difficulty knowing what we stand for now. We're not at them, we're hesitant, confused. I deeply worry about that".

He added: "I don't, know our position on welfare, do you know our position on education, do you know our genuine position on how we'd run the health service?"

Recalling Labour's last period in Opposition he said: "I remember before we won, '92, the five years to '97, this place was bubbling, we were energetic, we were at them, we thought we had all the answers. We're not at them and we're slightly hesitant and we're slightly confused and I deeply worry about that."

Mudie also took aim at Miliband's age and his inner-circle. "One of Ed's problems really is that he's young," he said. "The Leader is always cocooned by people round him and the basis they're around him is he trusts them and they're discreet".

Asked whether he thought Miliband's advisers tell him the truth, Mudie said: "No, I don't".

Defending Miliband, shadow justice secretary Sadiq Khan said Mudie was at the "the cynical end of the market" in parliament. "We have policies on a range of issues, on house building programme to the 10p rate of tax," he insisted.