Lord Precott tells David Miliband his time is gone

John Healey, MP
John Healey, MP
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LABOUR has continued to descend into an internal leadership war as former deputy prime minister Lord Prescott said ex-foreign secretary David Miliband should “shut up” and stop “telling us what to do”.

Asked yesterday for his view on Mr Miliband, who has criticised the party’s “backward looking” approach under brother Ed in a series of national newspaper interviews, Lord Prescott said: “Terrible. He should shut up. Look, we’ve gone through that period, the Miliband period is now gone. We’re not looking to a period where he emerges as another Miliband interpretation.

John Healey MP

John Healey MP

“Get on with your international job. Don’t come over here telling us what to do.”

The peer also urged Alastair Campbell to “stay at home” after the former Downing Street spin chief warned he would try to unseat any leader who did not look as if they could win by 2018. Mr Campbell retorted that Lord Prescott was lapsing into his “comfort zone”.

The slapdowns came as MPs continued to nominate potential successors to Ed Miliband.

Lord Prescott also took aim at Chuka Umunna, who announced he was standing for the leadership only to withdraw a few days later.

“They want to run for leader before they’ve got any experience and it’s showing. For Chuka to say he was amazed the way the press ... for God’s sake. What was he doing the last few years?” he said.

Meanwhile, backbencher John Healey has pulled out of the deputy leadership race saying he wanted to make more space for other contenders.

The South Yorkshire MP said: “Three quarters of Labour MPs have now nominated but only two candidates are on the ballot, and there’s a very real danger that we only have a narrow range of deputy leader candidates.

“I have the most backing of those not on the ballot so far, and my decision is designed to give more of the other candidates the chance to make the cut. I’m withdrawing now to make sure we get the range and number of candidates that Party members deserve. And I encourage those who already have the required 35 nominations to bear this in mind too.

“I joined the contest for deputy leader to talk about the deeper thinking Labour must now do, and the big challenges we must face. I’ll continue to do this as part of Labour’s team as we rethink and rebuild to win in 2020.”