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Miliband: Labour winning back trust

Ed Miliband declared Labour was "winning back people's trust" after a night of big gains in mid-term local elections across the country.

On a bruising night for the Tories and Liberal Democrats, Mr Miliband's party took control of a series of key councils including Southampton, Birmingham, Plymouth, Reading, Norwich, Thurrock and Harlow.

Prime Minister David Cameron - who suffered the embarrassment of losing seats in his Witney constituency to Labour as it made inroads into the Conservative heartlands of southern England - blamed the setbacks on the tough economic climate nationally, but insisted he would continue to take the "difficult decisions" needed to deal with Britain's debt.

With around half of the votes counted, Labour had won control of 22 councils, racked up around 470 new seats and looked set for overall gains of more than 700, while the Tories looked likely to lose more than 350 seats and the Liberal Democrats about 200.

Speaking outside his London home, Mr Miliband said: "We are a party winning back people's trust, regaining ground, but there is more work to do. I know that David Cameron promised change and has disappointed people. I am determined that we can deliver Britain the change it needs.

"People are hurting. People are suffering from this recession, people are suffering from a Government that raises taxes for them and cuts taxes for millionaires. I think that's what we saw last night."

Mr Cameron paid a visit to Conservative campaign headquarters in London to thank party workers. The Prime Minister said: "I am sorry for all the hard-working Conservative councillors who lost their seats, obviously against a difficult national backdrop. These are difficult times and there aren't easy answers.

"What we have to do is take the difficult decisions to deal with the debt, deficit and broken economy that we've inherited and we will go on making those decisions and we've got to do the right thing for our country."

Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg said he was "really sad" at his party's results but insisted they would "continue to play our role" in Government dealing with the economic crisis.

In a further blow to Mr Cameron, Manchester, Nottingham and Coventry ignored his pleas and rejected proposals for elected mayors. Birmingham and other cities are expected to follow suit. However, Mr Miliband did suffer a setback in Bradford, where his party lost seats to George Galloway's Respect party.

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