Miliband urged to ‘sharpen focus’ on jobs and growth

ED MILIBAND needs to provide a “compelling case” to the electorate on why the country would be better off under Labour and come up with a more effective response to Conservative attacks, one of the party’s MPs has claimed.

Geraint Davies said the party looked like a “shamefaced schoolboy” by not rebutting Tory accusations that Labour was responsible for the economic mess.

Mr Davies is the latest MP to publicly express concern about the performance of the party, claiming it needed to “set out a vision of a stronger Britain” with a focus on jobs and growth.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Writing in The Independent, he said: “The party’s challenge is to provide a compelling case as to why Britain would be better off with Labour.

“Firstly, the problem is that the electorate doesn’t yet see a clear choice between the parties on cuts vs growth. Secondly, the Tories have been relentless in asserting that Labour messed up the economy. Not rebutting this charge makes us look like a shamefaced schoolboy admitting responsibility by omission. And if we don’t rebut the accusation, it will simply amplify as the election approaches.”

The Swansea West MP added: “Labour needs to set out a vision of a stronger Britain that provides the economic confidence to invest and consume to stimulate jobs and growth.

“The Conservatives have been busy trying to recreate the political choices of the 1980s – between an ‘all heart and no mind’ Labour which would tax and spend Britain into bankruptcy vs the hard-nosed business sense of the Tories making tough choices.

“Labour needs to talk the talk of UK plc,boosting the UK’s productive capacity by linking industry, universities and councils.

“We need a sharper focus on the growing export opportunities to China, India, Brazil and Russia. We must invest in homes and transport, use public procurement as an engine to grow small and medium-sized firms.”

Mr Davies said next year’s European election campaign would offer the opportunity to put policies on growth and jobs “centre stage”.

He added: “We need to continue a journey towards jobs and growth, not to be diverted into a cul-de-sac of more cuts.”

Challenged about Mr Davies’s concerns, Shadow Treasury Minister Chris Leslie said: “He is saying make sure that we don’t let the Conservatives get away with the lie that somehow it was Gordon Brown who singularly caused the global financial crisis, as though he got on a plane and caused that in the US with sub-prime mortgages or in Greece or elsewhere.”

Mr Davies’s intervention follows Blackley and Broughton MP Graham Stringer’s warning that the party leadership was making “a huge mistake” by “slumbering” during Westminster’s summer recess, rather than using the opportunity to attack the Conservatives.

Fellow backbencher George Mudie has claimed that the party appeared “hesitant” and “confused” because of Mr Miliband’s failure to set out a clear agenda.