UK & World News
Policy Chief Hits Out At Miliband's Leadership
Ed Miliband's leadership could be in trouble ahead of the next general election, according to a senior figure in the Labour party.
The head of Labour's policy review has admitted the party's recent statements on welfare are "cynical" and designed for "focus groups".
The critical comments by Jon Cruddas were made at a meeting of a left-wing think tank. A recording of the comments has been obtained by Sky News.
In the recordings, Mr Cruddas says: "My job is to look at Labour's policy agenda ... and I can assure you that these interesting ideas and remedies are not going to emerge through Labour's policy review right - irrespective of whether we want them to or not.
"And we have to learn how, why they aren't. And this example, this week is a really interesting one where we set up independent reviews to rethink social policy, economic policy, democracy, local government - they come up with ideas and they're just parked, parked.
"And instead ... cynical nuggets of policy to chime with our focus groups and our press strategies and our desire for a topline in terms of the 24-hour media cycle dominate."
Mr Cruddas warned that the "clock is ticking" for Labour and raised fears about interesting ideas being "parked".
The comments come as Labour prepares to set out its vision for rebuilding Britain through major reforms of the state and big business in a series of events over the next week.
Responding to the comments, a Labour spokesperson said: "Ed Miliband and Jon Cruddas helped the IPPR [Institute for Public Policy Research] unveil its independent Condition of Britain report because they back the key principles behind it: strengthening institutions, rewarding hard work and handing power back to the people.
"We support some of its key recommendations to ensure young people sign up for training not sign on for benefits or raising JSA [Jobseeker's Allowance] for people who have paid in all their life.
"These go alongside the most radical plans for generations; from getting 200,000 homes built a year, raising the minimum wage, reforming the energy market, to devolving economic power to our great cities once again, these plans will help build a Britain that once again works for working people."
Sky's Political Correspondent Sophy Ridge said: "This story is significant because of who is giving the comments.
"Jon Cruddas is the head of Labour's policy review. That's a senior position - it means he's effectively in charge of the way Labour formulates its proposals ahead of the next election.
"What he is specifically saying is that he is concerned the way Labour is making policies is not really working for the party."