Miliband calls for Brooks's head

Labour leader says Rebekah Brooks should "consider her conscience and consider her position".

On last night's Newsnight, Tom Watson, who has pursued the News of the World with an unrivalled tenacity, raged against the party leaders for their collective failure to hold News International to account: "There have been plenty of hints to Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg and David Cameron that something very murky happened with [private investigator] Glenn Mulcaire and the News of the World. They have let the Dowler family down tonight by not calling for a public inquiry... Politicians are frightened of News International and they need to act."

But Ed Miliband's latest intervention should go some way to assuage Watson's anger. In his latest TV interview, Miliband became the first leader to suggest that Rebekah Brooks should resign over the alleged hacking of Milly Dowler's phone. He called for her to "consider her position" and to "examine her conscience". Significantly, he added: "[T]his goes well beyond one individual ... This was a systematic series of things that happened and what I want from executives at News International is people to start taking responsibility for this, people to start saying why that happened."

It's a bold move given that just two weeks ago, Miliband attended News International's summer party with Douglas Alexander and Yvette Cooper (who led Labour's criticism of the News of the World last night). For the first time, he also demanded a public inquiry into the phone hacking scandal.

The key question now is whether Miliband's intervention prompts Cameron and Clegg to take a tougher line on the scandal.

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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Andy Burnham's full speech on attack: "Manchester is waking up to the most difficult of dawns"

"We are grieving today, but we are strong."

Following Monday night's terror attack on an Ariana Grande concert at the Manchester Arena, newly elected mayor of the city Andy Burnham, gave a speech outside Manchester Town Hall on Tuesday morning, the full text of which is below: 

After our darkest of nights, Manchester is today waking up to the most difficult of dawns. 

It’s hard to believe what has happened here in the last few hours and to put into words the shock, anger and hurt that we feel today.

These were children, young people and their families that those responsible chose to terrorise and kill.

This was an evil act. Our first thoughts are with the families of those killed and injured. And we will do whatever we can to support them.

We are grieving today, but we are strong. Today it will be business as usual as far as possible in our great city.

I want to thank the hundreds of police, fire and ambulance staff who worked throughout the night in the most difficult circumstances imaginable.

We have had messages of support from cities around the country and across the world, and we want to thank them for that.

But lastly I wanted to thank the people of Manchester. Even in the minute after the attack, they opened their doors to strangers and drove them away from danger.

They gave the best possible immediate response to those who seek to divide us and it will be that spirit of Manchester that will prevail and hold us together.

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