POLITICS

Labour Did Not Lose The Election Because Of Ed Miliband, Insists Bob Roberts

28/05/2015 13:34 BST | Updated 28/05/2015 13:59 BST
BBC

Labour did not lose the election because voters rejected Ed Miliband as a leader, the party's former director of communications has insisted.

Bob Roberts, who worked for the party under Miliband's leadership, said the Conservatives secured an overall majority due to the SNP surge in Scotland.

"There was a social and political revolution in Scotland which neither Ed Miliband or the Labour Party could do anything about. It swept us away north and affected us south," he said.

Asked by Andrew Neil on the BBC's Daily Politics programme on Thursday whether Labour's fundamental problem was that voters simply did not "trust" Miliband, or the party on the economy.

"No. I disagree," Roberts said. "In the end, a lot of people thought Ed had a decent campaign. Ed came across as exactly who he was."

Roberts argued it was the "worries caused by the influence of the SNP" that triggered a swing away from Labour "at the last minute".

He said the Labour leadership believed Miliband had a "decent chance" of becoming prime minister up until the result from the battleground seat of Nuneaton was declared.

"We went into those last few days not complacent not thinking we were going to win but denting thinking we were in with a chance," he said.

"It was when the first few results started coming in, we looked at each other and said, 'that exit poll isn’t wrong that exit poll is right'."

Roberts refused to name who he wanted to take over as Labour leader, but said the party needed to "leave the past behind" and "move on" from the Tony Blair and Gordon Brown era. "We moved on some, we did not move on enough on the economy on immigration," he said.

Asked who came up with the much-mocked #EdStone, Roberts refused to answer. All the "good ideas" we Miliband's while all the "bad" ideas were the collective fault of the team.

Labour Leadership Contenders