The Guardian endorses Labour party ahead of UK election
The Guardian has endorsed Ed Miliband and the Labour Party, acknowledging "misgivings" but advising its readers the party can "make a very big difference" for the worst off.
The newspaper, which endorsed the Liberal Democrats in 2010, said the coalition "experiment has clearly run its course", in an editorial published less than a week before polling day.
In a leader published online, the Guardian said: "There have been times when a Labour vote has been, at best, a pragmatic choice - something to be undertaken without enthusiasm. This is not such a time.
"Of course there are misgivings. The party has some bad instincts - on civil liberties, penal policy and on Trident, about which it is too inflexible. Questions linger over Ed Miliband's leadership, and whether he has that elusive quality that inspires others to follow.
"But Mr Miliband has grown in this campaign. He may not have stardust or TV-ready charisma, but those are qualities that can be overvalued. He has resilience and, above all, a strong sense of what is just.
"Mr Miliband understood early one of the central questions of the age: inequality. While most Tories shrug at that yawning gap between rich and poor, Labour will at least strive to slow and even reverse the three-decade march towards an obscenely unequal society."
The newspaper said Labour could "go further and be bolder" but added: "The contrast between them and the Conservatives is sharp."
In a critique of the past five years, the Guardian said: "The outgoing government proved that coalitions can function, which is important, and it can be proud of its achievements on equal marriage and foreign aid.
"But its record ... is dominated by an initial decision to pursue a needless and disastrous fiscal rigidity. That turned into a moral failure, by insisting on making the neediest and the least secure pay the highest price for an economic and financial crash that they did not cause.
"The evidence is there in the one million annual visits to food banks, a shocking figure in what is, still, a wealthy country."
It concluded: "This newspaper has never been a cheerleader for the Labour Party. We are not now. But our view is clear - Labour provides the best hope for starting to tackle the turbulent issues facing us.
"On May 7, as this country makes a profound decision about its future, we hope Britain turns to Labour."
Yesterday, the Financial Times endorsed the Conservatives, joining the Spectator, the Economist and the Sun in backing David Cameron to remain in Number 10 - though the Scottish Sun swung in behind the SNP.
Labour secured the backing of the New Statesman on Wednesday, albeit in an editorial savaging Mr Miliband's leadership of the party.