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19 September 2010updated 27 Sep 2015 2:12am

Mandelson criticises Ed Miliband

Former business secretary says he is “mystified” by leadership contender.

By Sophie Elmhirst

The BBC has released a preview of a Radio 4 documentary, The Brown Years, due to be broadcast on Tuesday. The programme contains an interview with Peter Mandelson, the former business secretary, talking about how Ed Miliband appears to be distancing himself from Labour’s manifesto for this year’s general election, which he wrote.

Mandelson is quoted as saying:

I’m absolutely mystified . . . because its author, Ed Miliband, it seems to me, has distanced himself from it, and created the impression that it’s not the manifesto on which he would have fought the election.

Mandelson also criticises the manifesto itself, saying it failed to talk to voters who were not “natural or automatic” supporters of the Labour Party.

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He doesn’t only aim blows at the junior Miliband, however. He also accuses Ed Balls of having “encouraged” Gordon Brown “to think that Alistair Darling was not an effective chancellor” in order to push himself forward for the job.

Balls’s leadership team has been forced to come out and defend the former children’s secretary. “Ed has always stated that he was never pushing to be chancellor and was content to remain as children’s secretary, which he saw as an important job,” a statement said.