Harman scents victory after Miliband speech

THERE will be “no no-go areas” for Labour in 2015, Harriet Harman has pledged as she declared the party in with a “fighting chance” of winning the next election after a successful conference in Manchester.

Labour’s deputy leader told party members that Ed Miliband’s widely-lauded speech on Tuesday had fired the “starting gun” for the next election, but the party must now begin reaching out beyond its traditional heartlands in the North to secure marginal seats in 2015.

To that end, members of the shadow cabinet – many of them representing safe Labour seats in Yorkshire – have been allocated marginal constituencies in the South where they will ‘mentor’ the local Labour candidates.

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Ms Harman said Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls, the MP for Morley and Outwood in West Yorkshire, will mentor Labour’s candidate in Dover.

“To win the next General Election we must adopt a marginal seat mindset and listen to the people where we don’t have Labour MPs as well as where we do,” she said, adding: “We’ve got to speak up for the pensioner in Gloucester, as well as in Grimsby.”

In an indication of the way Mr Miliband’s address has energised the party, Ms Harman said the leader, a baseball fan, had “knocked the ball right out of the park”. “It’s been a great week for the Labour Party, and it’s been a great week for Ed Miliband,” she said.

“This week has been special, this week the game has changed. We know we have big challenges ahead but we leave Manchester emboldened, enthused, with a strong sense of purpose. We have grown in confidence, we have grown in self-belief.

“This country needs a government of and for all its people, not a coalition that plays divide and rule. This country needs a One Nation Labour Party and a One Nation Labour government.”

The deputy leader dismissed mounting speculation that senior Labour figures are already considering how a future coalition with the Liberal Democrats might work if the 2015 election produces another hung Parliament.

She said there would be no call for Labour supporters to vote tactically to keep out Conservatives and no overtures towards senior Lib Dems.

She told supporters: “We are not fighting to be part of a coalition Government – we are fighting to win.”

Comment: Page 12; Opinion: Page 13.