POLITICS

Criticism Of Labour Shadow Cabinet 'Legitimate', Admits Sadiq Khan

24/09/2013 20:33 BST | Updated 24/09/2013 20:45 BST
HufPostUK

Labour frontbencher Sadiq Khan has admitted that Ed Miliband's top team has not performed as well as it should done have over the past year - while former frontbencher Tessa Jowell urged Miliband not to "read the papers".

Speaking at the Huffington Post UK's fringe event at the Labour Party conference in Brighton on Tuesday evening, Khan, the shadow justice secretary, said the criticism of the current shadow cabinet was "legitimate"

"One of the things we have lacked is message discipline. We've got to do better," he said. "It's a criticism from journalists of shadow cabinet members in the last 12 months which are legitimate. We lack message discipline and we have to be coherent and laser-like."

Khan, who ran Miliband's leadership campaign in 2010, was speaking after the Labour leader's keynote speech to the party conference in which none of the shadow cabinet members were singled out for praise or attention. There has been speculation in Westminster and in Brighton that Miliband plans to reshuffle his shadow cabinet sooner rather than later.

Also speaking at the HuffPost UK event, former Labour culture secretary and Olympics minister Tessa Jowell said Miliband's speech had been "compelling and moving" and was a "go for broke" address.

"It is as if Ed has found his voice again. When I was listening I felt that was the Ed of before the leadership election. He has been through a period where his passion became rather blocked. It was absolutely unplugged," she said.

However, in a note of caution, she said she hoped the policies announced, including a plan to freeze electricity and gas prices until 2017, had been "so well worked out they will stand the test of malign scrutiny over the next few days".

Jowell urged Miliband: "Don't read the papers, just get out on the doorsteps and just spend the next 18 months in our marginal seats and talk about real life experiences".

She added: "I really think we've got to stand up to what is superficial lazy right-wing commentator thinking that says this is all a lurch to the left."

To audience titters, the former cabinet minister also said Miliband should carry on "exposing himself" to people.

"There are now major policy announcements that are directly relevant to virtually everyone I represent," she said."The job now is to take an understanding of that all over the country."

She added: "I think Ed should just go on travelling around the country, exposing himself to many people."