Labour's Brian Wilson latest to take a swing at Ed Miliband
Labour heavyweights continue to raise concerns about the party's failure to get its message across
THE criticism of Ed Miliband from within his own ranks appears to be never ending. Brian Wilson, a former energy minister under Tony Blair, has described the Labour leader's poll ratings as "somewhere between dire and disappointing".
Writing in The Scotsman, Wilson attacked the "lightweight" shadow cabinet and said he had "never been quite clear" why Miliband thought he should be Labour leader. Wilson, who was a Labour MP for 18 years, suggested Miliband "look in the mirror and honestly answer the question: 'Will the electorate ever assent to me being prime minister?'"
His comments follow several criticisms from inside the party in the last few weeks that have left Miliband looking short of friends...
David Blunkett: The former home secretary offered Miliband a backhanded compliment earlier this week, comparing him to the post-war prime minister Clement Attlee, who he said "wasn't the most vibrant" public performer. Blunkett said there was frustration within the party at how the leadership was performing. Asked on Radio 4's Today programme if Miliband was up to the job, he said: "I think Mr Miliband has demonstrated on a number of occasions that he can do it. But he won't be able to do it alone and nor should he."
George Mudie: Miliband is "still trying to find himself", claimed the Labour MP for Leeds East at the beginning of the month. Mudie, who sits on the Treasury select committee, admitted even he did not know what his party's policies were on health, education and welfare, telling BBC's World at One: "We're slightly hesitant and we're slightly confused and I deeply worry about that."
Andy Burnham: In an interview with The Guardian, the shadow health secretary voiced concern that time was running out to mount a coherent challenge to the coalition. "I think there's definitely a need to shout louder, and speak in a way that captures how people are feeling and thinking," he said. "There's definitely a need to put our cards on the table."
Graham Stringer: The Labour MP for Blackley and Broughton accused the party's leadership of an "almost deafening silence" since parliament went into recess for the summer. Speaking on World at One, he called for Lord Mandelson's return and added: "I think the party is genuinely worried about the lack of activity in the shadow cabinet."
Lord Glasman: The Labour peer announced at the weekend that it was time for Miliband "to show he is a grown-up politician big enough to lead this country". Writing in the Mail on Sunday, Glasman said: "When the Labour battle bus should be revving up, it is parked in a lay-by of introspection... People want to know what Labour is about. It is time Ed Miliband got out of his political lay-by and told them."
John Prescott: From lay-by metaphors to football metaphors... the former deputy prime minister declared in the Sunday Mirror: "Miliband is Labour's Alex Ferguson and he needs to give any slacking ministers the hairdryer treatment." Prescott accused Labour of putting out "a second team of junior spokespeople" for its summer campaign and warned that time was running out to provide "a stronger attack and a rock hard defence". He added: "We can still turn it around and win in the second half. But we need the very best team, week in, week out." ·