29 Sep 2010

Ed Miliband: pay deficit off with higher taxes

Labour leader Ed Miliband tells Channel 4 News his plan to cut the deficit would include getting more from taxation, such as taxes on the banks.

The new Labour leader said “I would do more from taxation than Alistair put in his plan,” but added he was not going to “pluck a proportion out of the air” for what that would be.

Former Chancellor Alistair Darling proposed a two thirds/one third split to cut the deficit, with two thirds coming from spending cuts and a third from tax increases.

In the interview he also paid tribute to the “enormous talent” of his brother, saying that David had “graciousness” in public and in private after Ed Miliband narrowly won the leadership race.

“I make this as a prediction, which is I think David Miliband will make a contribution to British politics in the future, and I think he’ll make an important contribution one way or another,” he said.

He added that David Miliband was a “great talent” and a “huge asset” to the Labour party and the country, but that he had “got to make the right decision for him” and needs the “time and space” to do that.

I think David Miliband will make a contribution to British politics in the future, and I think he’ll make an important contribution Ed Miliband

He insisted that his decision to stand against his brother was right for his family, but sought to draw a line under the Labour leadership contest. “David said to me at the time ‘it would be quite wrong for me to stand in your way’.”

His love for David and vice versa was “very profound”, he said, but he acknowledged he did not show David Miliband his leader’s speech before delivering it yesterday afternoon.

Guilty feelings?

"Do you feel guilty?" was my opener with Ed Miliband this morning in Manchester as we wait for his brother David to announce in London in a few hours that he is stepping back from frontline politics, writes Krishnan Guru-Murthy

"I feel sorry for David," was the answer. But the new Labour leader insists he did the right thing for his family in standing against his brother, and David will make a contribution to British politics.

Read more on Gurublog

“He said to me, rightly, ‘it’s got to be your leadership speech. It’s not my leadership speech, it’s you leadership speech’, and that was really good advice and he always give me very good advice.”

He said that his comments that the war in Iraq was wrong “won’t have come as a surprise to David, I’m absolutely sure of that”, pointing to what he said in hustings speeches throughout the campaign.

Ed Miliband denied suggestions that he had little backing among Constituency Labour Parties in the leadership vote. “We had our rules, I won the election, I won with more votes than any other candidate. I won with more than David Cameron or Nick Clegg got in their leadership elections. And I’m going to take this party forward united”.

“I don’t have a particularly strong view of what the voting system should be,” he said, insisting he still would have won it it was a one-member-one-vote system.

But the younger Miliband insisted it was now time to move on from discussions about his relationship with David and talk about Labour’s relationship with the country.

“The challenge is too big for us to start looking back at the election. The election is over, now the real contest has begun with the coalition.”

Ed Miliband reiterated the sentiments in his speech on how he would challenge the coalition plans. “We have a responsibility to be a responsible opposition,” he said.

Mr Miliband also laughed at the speculation of whether he would marry his long-term partner Justine Thornton. “Justine and I have a very strong bond and actually we’ve said in the past we intended to get married,” he said. “I actually think the British people are very relaxed about whether we’re married or not.”

There is no getting away from them now: but who are the Milibands, and what is their background? Channel 4 News Who Knows Who profiles new Labour leader Ed Miliband, his defeated brother David Miliband, and looks at the potential rising stars of the new Labour Shadow Cabinet.