POLITICS

Deborah Mattinson: Invisible Miliband Needs To Define What Labour Stands For

13/08/2013 11:42 BST | Updated 13/08/2013 11:56 BST
PA
Labour leader Ed Miliband delivers his speech on One Nation Politics at The St Bride Foundation in London.

Ed Miliband's vision for Labour is as good as invisible, according to a former aide to Gordon Brown.

Deborah Mattinson called for "real clarity" about what the party stands for, saying it was either "lurching from one announcement to the next" or in "complete silence".

Her comments come as pressure mounts on the Labour leader, who has struggled to make himself heard in recent weeks against a resurgent Tory party.

And the opposition's immigration spokesman, Chris Bryant, was mocked on Monday for a bungled speech on immigration.

Mattinson, who worked as a pollster for Brown, said the speech was "symptomatic of a bigger problem" for Labour - "an apparent lack of an overarching strategy".

"It seemed to be a tactical opportunity seized - rightly or wrongly - rather than something that's part of a bigger story from Labour, and I think what we need is to hear the bigger story, and that's what we're not really getting at the moment," she told BBC Radio 4's The World Tonight.

"What voters need to hear is some real clarity about what Labour stands for, what Labour believes, how Labour now would be different from how Labour has been before. And that needs to be set out with absolute clarity in a language that people understand.

"We're slightly lurching from one announcement to the next, or complete silence. The statement today followed quite a deafening silence in the couple of weeks before that, so we need some consistent, clear messaging that is applied with some conviction and over a period of time."

"I don't buy the argument that we need to hold all our important announcements back because I think we're leaving it to the point that people have so little to go on about Labour that they're almost not noticing Labour, and the party has to define itself very clearly now to people or it will be defined by its opponents."