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Labour in middle ground - Miliband

Ed Miliband insisted that Labour would remain "firmly in the middle ground of politics" under his leadership after a speech in which he promised to take on predatory practices in business.

In his keynote speech to Labour's annual conference in Liverpool, the party leader pledged to rein in excessive pay at the top of industry, break up cartels and demand responsibility from the banks. He was loudly cheered by some parts of his audience as he told them: "I'm not Tony Blair."

Business groups raised concerns over Mr Miliband's declaration that a future Labour government would treat "good" and "bad" companies differently to encourage responsible behaviour.

Former Labour trade minister and CBI chief Lord Jones described the speech as "divisive and a kick in the teeth" for business. But Mr Miliband insisted he was not "anti-business".

Asked if he had made a lurch to the left, he told ITV1's Daybreak: "Absolutely not. We are going to be firmly in the middle ground of politics, but the middle ground is changing. The idea that we should have responsibility in the top of our society ... it is not a left-wing idea to say that there should be responsibility there.

"It is absolutely in the middle ground. It is absolutely about the values of the British people, which say everybody should show responsibility. Equally, I talked very frankly in the speech about how we need to change the benefit system. There are too many people taking something for nothing."

Asked about the jeering which greeted Mr Blair's name, Mr Miliband told BBC1's Breakfast: "It's not a jeer I share."

But he made clear he wanted to escape from the shadow of the prime ministers of the New Labour era.

"Both Gordon Brown and Tony Blair were great men who did great things, but I was saying something very clear," he told Daybreak. "The Blair/Brown era is over for Labour. I am new, I am in charge and I am going to do things my own way. What was right for 15 years ago isn't right for now.

"I don't think people are that interested in looking back at Labour's past. I think they want to know what are Labour's solutions for the future. That's what I'm starting to do this week and will do so more in the coming months and years."


From Belfast Telegraph