Electrifying Miliband launches bid for political centre ground

ED MILIBAND has electrified the Labour Party conference with a powerful speech that saw him seize the “One Nation” mantle from the Conservatives and cast himself as the man to rebuild Britain from the rubble of the economic crash.

Speaking confidently for over an hour without reference to notes, the Labour leader yesterday made a bold pitch for the centre ground as he quoted the great Conservative leader Benjamin Disraeli and pledged the next Labour government would be “the party of the private sector as much as the public”.

In a speech which was light on policy but brushed aside concerns about his presentational style, Mr Miliband sought to paint the coalition as a government which has left the country desperately divided, failing to take on vested interests while cutting taxes for the richest and raising them for pensioners.

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Only his Labour Party, the Doncaster North MP claimed, could bring the country back together to build for the 21st century as he made an impassioned plea to the electorate who had deserted Labour at the last General Election, as well as disillusioned Tory voters.

“Let us remember what Disraeli was celebrated for – it was a vision of Britain,” Mr Miliband said.

“A vision of Britain where patriotism, loyalty, dedication to the common cause courses through the veins of all and nobody feels left out; it was a vision of Britain coming together to overcome the challenges we face.

“Disraeli called it ‘One Nation.’ We heard the phrase again as the country came together to defeat fascism, and we heard it again as Clement Attlee’s Labour government rebuilt Britain after the war.

“I didn’t become leader of the Labour Party to reinvent the world of Disraeli or Attlee – but I do believe in that spirit, that spirit of one nation, a country where everyone has a stake.”