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Labour is on the way back: Miliband

Labour leader Ed Miliband has admitted he has "a long way" to go to convince voters to back his party at the next general election.

On the opening day of the party's annual conference in Liverpool, he insisted Labour is "on the way back" - but said it would take time for people to "tune back in".

He and other senior Labour figures acknowledged the party's failings in government on the economy, immigration and welfare.

In an interview with BBC1's The Andrew Marr Show, Mr Miliband said: "When you lose an election, and we had our second worst result since we were founded in 1910, it takes time for people to tune back in to you."

He went on: "We are a party on the way back. There's a long way to go and I, more than anyone, know the scale of the task. But, you know what's most important? I know who I am and I know where I want to take this country and that's what I'm going to be talking about this week."

He admitted the former Labour government - in which he and shadow chancellor Ed Balls were cabinet ministers - got "some things wrong" on immigration, had failed to shift the emphasis of Britain's "fast buck economy" and had not shown enough financial discipline.

His message was reinforced on the conference platform by shadow work and pensions secretary Liam Byrne, who said he had heard from ordinary voters that Labour had grown "out of touch" and "got it wrong on issues close to their heart - on immigration, on welfare, on control of banks".

Former Home Secretary David Blunkett warned that Mr Miliband's political message is not being heard by voters and that Labour would not win if an election was held today.

And amid continued questions about Labour's economic credibility, former Labour Treasury minister Lord Myners accused the shadow cabinet of having no understanding of business.

Mr Miliband's leadership won lavish praise from Labour left-winger Michael Meacher, however, who said: "He is moving the Labour Party in the direction which it needs to go, away from privatised markets, away from deregulated finance, away from unfettered free markets, to a different kind of policy which deals with the banks, which deals with big corporations, which deals with the Murdoch press."


From Belfast Telegraph