Breaking: Now Ed Miliband hits back hard against his brother

A “new generation” is needed to move beyond the “New Labour comfort zone”, says leadership contender

Ed Miliband will tomorrow issue his clearest political attack yet on his brother, David, calling on Labour to provide a "mandate for change" so that a "new generation" can lead the party out of its "New Labour comfort zone".

In a speech being distributed to as many party members as possible tomorrow, the younger Miliband brother will unashamedly draw stark dividing lines with the bookies' favourite, David, who is being portrayed by Ed's campaign as the party's "establishment" candidate.

The Ed Miliband camp said that tomorrow's speech "will say that the leadership election has come down to a big defining decision: whether to linger in the New Labour comfort zone and try one more heave for power, or to change to a new generation of leadership, beyond New Labour". It will seek to portray the fight between Ed and David Miliband as being between "change and continuity", respectively.

The "one more heave" reference is ironical, as it was frequently used by party modernisers who accused traditionalists of refusing to compromise with the electorate. In recent days, David Miliband has said that the party must escape from its "comfort zone" and appeal beyond its "core vote".

But on Tuesday Ed Miliband's team hit back, saying it was the "New Labour comfort zone" that must be shed. Tensions between the brothers' camps have heightened in recent days.

Ed Balls will also deliver a key campaign speech tomorrow in which he will say that the choice between a "head" candidate and a "heart" candidate is "false", and claim to be the "head-and-heart" candidate.

In his speech, Ed Miliband will say: "We must have the courage to change, the confidence to know that our values, when applied to the challenges of Britain in the modern world, can reconnect with those who have turned their backs on New Labour."

He will add: "We lost the last election but nobody won. The reason: neither New Labour nor Cameron's Tories had good enough answers to the challenges facing people in this country.

"I say to the Labour Party: 'I am not just seeking your votes. I am seeking a mandate to change -- to refound our party in ways which will reach out to those who have lost trust in us.'

"We must reach out to those who believe we have become cynical about our politics with our belief that it's politics which can bring people together to change Britain. We must reach out to the squeezed middle, those who find themselves working harder for longer for less, with a commitment to a new economy on the side of working people, rewarding businesses [which] invest in their staff and are committed to fair pay. And we must reach out to those who believe we became too casual about the liberties of individuals.

"Whenever a political party has become stuck in its ways there are always those who will fight to stay with what they know. The past can be a powerful anchor. Labour now faces a big, defining choice: whether to linger in the comfort zone of New Labour or whether to change, reach out to those who have lost trust in our party. Only change can win."

James Macintyre is political correspondent for the New Statesman.
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Theresa May’s stage-managed election campaign keeps the public at bay

Jeremy Corbyn’s approach may be chaotic, but at least it’s more authentic.

The worst part about running an election campaign for a politician? Having to meet the general public. Those ordinary folk can be a tricky lot, with their lack of regard for being on-message, and their pesky real-life concerns.

But it looks like Theresa May has decided to avoid this inconvenience altogether during this snap general election campaign, as it turns out her visit to Leeds last night was so stage-managed that she barely had to face the public.

Accusations have been whizzing around online that at a campaign event at the Shine building in Leeds, the Prime Minister spoke to a room full of guests invited by the party, rather than local people or people who work in the building’s office space.

The Telegraph’s Chris Hope tweeted a picture of the room in which May was addressing her audience yesterday evening a little before 7pm. He pointed out that, being in Leeds, she was in “Labour territory”:

But a few locals who spied this picture online claimed that the audience did not look like who you’d expect to see congregated at Shine – a grade II-listed Victorian school that has been renovated into a community project housing office space and meeting rooms.

“Ask why she didn’t meet any of the people at the business who work in that beautiful building. Everyone there was an invite-only Tory,” tweeted Rik Kendell, a Leeds-based developer and designer who says he works in the Shine building. “She didn’t arrive until we’d all left for the day. Everyone in the building past 6pm was invite-only . . . They seemed to seek out the most clinical corner for their PR photos. Such a beautiful building to work in.”

Other tweeters also found the snapshot jarring:

Shine’s founders have pointed out that they didn’t host or invite Theresa May – rather the party hired out the space for a private event: “All visitors pay for meeting space in Shine and we do not seek out, bid for, or otherwise host any political parties,” wrote managing director Dawn O'Keefe. The guestlist was not down to Shine, but to the Tory party.

The audience consisted of journalists and around 150 Tory activists, according to the Guardian. This was instead of employees from the 16 offices housed in the building. I have asked the Conservative Party for clarification of who was in the audience and whether it was invite-only and am awaiting its response.

Jeremy Corbyn accused May of “hiding from the public”, and local Labour MP Richard Burgon commented that, “like a medieval monarch, she simply briefly relocated her travelling court of admirers to town and then moved on without so much as a nod to the people she considers to be her lowly subjects”.

But it doesn’t look like the Tories’ painstaking stage-management is a fool-proof plan. Having uniform audiences of the party faithful on the campaign trail seems to be confusing the Prime Minister somewhat. During a visit to a (rather sparsely populated) factory in Clay Cross, Derbyshire, yesterday, she appeared to forget where exactly on the campaign trail she was:

The management of Corbyn’s campaign has also resulted in gaffes – but for opposite reasons. A slightly more chaotic approach has led to him facing the wrong way, with his back to the cameras.

Corbyn’s blunder is born out of his instinct to address the crowd rather than the cameras – May’s problem is the other way round. Both, however, seem far more comfortable talking to the party faithful, even if they are venturing out of safe seat territory.

Anoosh Chakelian is senior writer at the New Statesman.

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