Miliband under pressure as Tories close in

Ed Miliband

New poll prompts calls for Labour leader to “sharpen up”

LAST UPDATED AT 08:30 ON Sun 23 Mar 2014

Senior party figures are turning up the heat on Ed Miliband after a new YouGov poll put the Tories just one point behind Labour.

The Labour leader is being urged to tighten up his presentation and to stop speaking like a “Hampstead academic”.

The poll for the Sunday Times  puts the Conservatives on 36%, just one point behind Labour - the smallest margin in five months. The poll was conducted in the wake of last week’s Budget.

Influential Labour figures are urging Miliband to stop “trying to be too clever” and instead develop “understandable” policies in the mould of Tony Blair. He is also being urged to “get on the doorstep” to connect with the voting public.

John Mann, a senior Labour MP and member of the Treasury select committee, said: “He needs to speak the language of voters in Bassetlaw not academics in Hampstead. It’s talking clear, simple language that people understand. It’s all too clever at the moment. A reshuffle of his speechwriters would help.”

Lord Knight of Weymouth, a former Labour minister, said Miliband needs to be “much sharper”, and should emulate Tony Blair’s pledge card of easy to understand policies.

Former pensions minister Ian McCartney said Miliband should stop being “cautious” and instead take on David Cameron directly.

Further bad news for Labour came as the poll showed that George Obsorne’s personal approval ratings are soaring. They gave risen from 14% to 29% in the wake of his headline-grabbing Budget.

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