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Ed Miliband under fire from Labour troops

By Sam Lister

Ed Miliband has defended Labour's election strategy amid wounding public criticism from his own MPs.

Backbenchers piled in to round on the "pointy heads" in London for ignoring the threat from Ukip and running an "unforgivably unprofessional" campaign.

Labour has made modest gains in the English council elections but has failed to secure enough support to put it on course for an outright General Election victory.

It went into the polls on the back of a torrid week of publicity which saw Mr Miliband branded out of touch after under-estimating the price of his family's weekly food shop despite the cost of living campaign at the heart of his party's election strategy.

The Labour leader was also caught out in a regional radio interview when he was unable to identify his party's leader on the local borough council.

"I think we ran a good campaign, but I think to understand what happened last night you have got to go back not for a few weeks but for years to the way people feel this country works," Mr Miliband insisted.

Labour backbencher John Mann said the leadership's electoral strategy had been "disastrous" and criticised Mr Miliband for not reaching out to a wider spread of voters.

He added: "The people deciding strategy at the top, without question, had a strategy of ignoring Ukip instead of taking them on, and that was a disastrous strategy."

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