POLITICS
09/09/2013 08:50 BST

Charles Clarke Attacks Ed Miliband And Ed Balls

PA
Former Home Secretary Charles Clarke delivers a speech to group Progress at the City of London School in London.

Former Labour home secretary Charles Clarke has attacked Ed Miliband and Ed Balls for failing to commit to an economic policy.

In an interview with the Eastern Daily Press, Clarke, who lost his Norwich seat in 2010, said the shadow chancellor has "developed the doctrine of never making a commitment to anything ever at any time other than to support Norwich City Football Club".

"That is no good. It means the front benches, shadow cabinet members, do not always feel able to go out and say their thoughts because the economic dimension to whatever you are saying is important. If you don’t have the support and agreement of the shadow chancellor in advance that makes it difficult.”

The Blairite former cabinet minister said Ed Miliband and Balls needed to set out what Labour's policies were sooner rather than later.

“I think the main reason we lost the 2010 election was there wasn’t clarity about what we would do as a government. We absolutely can’t fall into the same trap this time,” he said.

"People say you should not show too much before a general election, I don’t agree with that approach. If you policy is substantial and has weight, it will stand for itself and if others agree with you and the government agrees with you then that is fine."

Clarke is the latest in a series of high profile Labour figures to criticise the current party leadership, including Tony Blair and David Blunkett.

Miliband is also engaged in a battle with trade unions over changes to their historic links to the Labour Party. A succession of union bosses have lined up to attack Miliband's proposals, which would see union members allowed to opt in rather than being automatically affiliated to Labour.