ED MILIBAND, leader of Britain's Labour party, admitted yesterday that he had to improve the way he got his message across to voters as he pleaded for more time during an uncomfortable radio phone-in.
After a week in which he has launched successful attacks on the UK government for raising VAT to 20pc, Mr Miliband came back to earth with a bump during an appearance on BBC Radio 2.
He faced a barrage of tough questions from presenter Jeremy Vine and callers for "shafting" his brother David, whom he defeated for the Labour leadership. One Labour supporter said he was too "laid back" and lacked the "passion and fire in the belly" to land blows on the government. Another caller criticised him for not marrying his partner, Justine, and registering as the father after the birth of their first child.
It is the second time that Mr Miliband has endured a difficult BBC radio interview. In November, he struggled to define what he meant by the "squeezed middle" on Radio 4. One Labour insider commented last night: "If the first interview was a car crash, then this was a pile-up."
Mr Miliband, who has faced Labour criticism for not making an impact during his first 100 days as party leader, admitted: "Of course there's further to go for me to set out both what we need to do as a political party and who I am as a politician.
"I know that as a politician . . . I have a journey to go on and we as a party have a journey to go on." He added: "We will fight as hard as we can. . . We have to convince people."
Responding to a caller who told him he had been prepared to "tread all over your brother to get to the top", Mr Miliband replied: "We both felt that we had something to say, something distinctive to say, a distinctive leadership to provide to the party and we discussed beforehand that we both wanted to stand." (© Independent News Service)