14 Mar 2011

Ed Miliband tells Nick Clegg to ‘lie low’ on AV

Ed Miliband’s used his press conference this morning to tell Nick Clegg to “lie low” in the AV referendum campaign because he’s a turn-off to voters. Is that slightly dodgy, hiding a party leader from the voters during a national campaign? Or just sensible politics?

Ed Miliband was happy to appear with Charles Kennedy at a “Yes to AV” rally scheduled for tomorrow but not with Nick Clegg so the event collapsed and Ed M will speak at a Labour event on Wednesday instead. Ed M neatly side-stepped a question asking whether there were other Lib Dem ministers he would be happy to campaign with saying he wasn’t even sure he knew all their names.

Ed Balls said it was a “touchy” subject who shares a platform with who. Ed M said he hadn’t done a “head count” yet on how many of his Shadow Cabinet would be lining up behind him in the Yes to AV campaign. As for the all-party Yes to AV campaign, they seem to have taken the same view as Ed M that Nick Clegg should be, as far as possible, hidden from view in the campaign.

On cuts, Ed M denied there was a credibility gap for the party even though it says no to the VAT rise but doesn’t say where it would find the money itself. That, Ed M says, is because there’s a £40bn difference between the Coalition deficit reduction plan and Labour’s … But the VAT rise is filling coffers this year and the gap between Labour’s plan and the Coalition’s for this year is only £2bn.

On Prince Andrew, by the way, Ed M said his experience was that he “did a good job for Britain” and he is “happy” for him to continue.

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