Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 2 October 2014

Miliband declares new centre ground

Ed Miliband has declared a 'new centre ground' in politics after Tony Blair warned that the Labour Party should not lurch to the left

Ed Miliband has declared a "new centre ground" in politics after Tony Blair warned that the Labour Party should not lurch to the left.

The Labour leader defended his stewardship of the Opposition after Mr Blair said the party needed to avoid any return to its traditional left-wing comfort zone if it is to have a chance of electoral success.

Mr Miliband told BBC1's Andrew Marr Show: "Tony Blair is entitled to his view, I've had conversations in private which have been good conversations with Tony Blair but let me just say this - it all depends on where you think the centre ground is.

"I'm absolutely a leader placing my party firmly in the centre ground but there's a new centre ground in our politics.

"The new centre ground, for example, that means you speak out on these issues of press responsibility, a new centre ground that says that responsibility in the banking system - which we didn't talk about enough when we were in government - is relevant, a new centre ground that says people are worried about concentrations of private power in this country when it leads to abuses.

"And that's the new centre ground."

He denied he needed to inject "dynamism" into his leadership and said he had been "very clear" about the party's direction.

"I'm speaking to the concerns of the country in a way I think that other politicians aren't speaking to them at the moment," he said.

"The squeeze on people's living standards, which is a massive issue and remains a massive issue, people's worry about the next generation of Britain and what's happening to them, and the need for responsibility, yes, in the benefits system but also in the boardrooms as well."

In a speech to the Progress campaign group last week, former prime minister Mr Blair attacked the record in office of his successor Gordon Brown.

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