Labour 'lost touch' admits Miliband
Ed Miliband has admitted that the last Labour government "lost touch" with the public as he insisted his party has to "change" to win the next general election.
In a speech to activists, the Labour leader set out plans to reform the party to make it less "inward-looking" and ensure that it is more responsive to the concerns of the public.
They included scrapping elections to the shadow cabinet, putting the ideas of local communities in front of Labour's national policy setting body and throwing open its annual conferences to non-members and the wider civil society.
Acknowledging the shortcomings and in-fighting of the Tony Blair and Gordon Brown governments of which he was a member, Mr Miliband said: "Old Labour forgot about the public. New Labour forgot about the party. And, by the time we left office, we had lost touch with both.
"That wasn't all. We talked about the importance of solidarity and respect, but too often looked inwards, distracting us from the task of serving the country. The internal squabbles damaged our reputation and distracted us from the task of serving the country."
Setting out his stall for the reform of the party's structures, Mr Miliband said Labour has to re-establish connections with the public and become part of a popular "movement".
Speaking to Labour's National Policy Forum in Wrexham, he insisted: "We can only win if we change."
One of his proposals for reform involves putting popular grassroots ideas - with demonstrable local support - before the National Policy Forum for consideration.
"Much more of our policy needs to come from the everyday experiences of people. So we do need more of a voice for party members. But those we should hear the most are those who do the most in their communities," he said.
Mr Miliband said that Labour conferences should reach out beyond the party's rank-and-file and invite ordinary members of the public, charities, pressure groups and community organisations to attend and speak to delegates.