‘Cynical’ Miliband is blasted by his own adviser

Jun 29, 2014

John Cruddas accuses Labour leader of focus-group obsession in run-up to election

Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

Ed Miliband’s own policy chief has launched a thinly veiled attack on the Labour leader, accusing him of pursuing “cynical” policies designed only to “chime with focus groups”.

In a major blow to the party chief, Jon Cruddas also accused Miliband’s inner circle of wielding a “profound dead hand at the centre” to stop the party adopting more courageous policies.

Cruddas described Labour’s plans to cut jobseeker’s allowance from those aged 18 to 21 unless they undergo training as “punitive”. He also hinted that welfare cuts had been adopted only to placate the media and floating voters.

The adviser was speaking at a meeting of the left-leaning pressure group Compass last weekend. In a recording of the meeting obtained by the Sunday Times, he complained that plans drawn up by Labour’s policy working groups had been “parked” by the leadership and replaced with “cynical nuggets of policy to chime with our focus groups and press strategy”.

He also warned the assembly that “the clock is ticking” ahead of “a profoundly important general election” and complained that “interesting ideas” were “not going to emerge through Labour’s policy review”.

His words come as a major blow to the leader and the party. When Cruddas was appointed by Miliband in 2012, the party leader described him as one of Labour’s “deepest thinkers”.

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