‘Vested interests’ behind onslaught against Miliband, claims Leigh MP Burnham

Ed Miliband is the victim of smear campaign to stop him becoming Prime Minister because he has been brave enough to take on ‘vested interests’, according to Leigh’s MP.

Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham claims Miliband’s war against ‘vested interests’ from the energy, banking and media sectors is the reason behind the recent attacks on the Labour leader.

Ruling himself out of any leadership challenge, Burnham pledged his one goal to get Miliband in Number 10 so that he could take up the role as Health Secretary.

Burnham argues this smear campaign explains Miliband’s slump in the polls this week.

The statement comes just one day after the release of survey results by Ipsos MORI for the London Evening Standard, revealing public support for Miliband is at the lowest to date. Just 13% of the country believing he is ready to become Prime Minister.

 “I see somebody whose leadership has been characterised by his willingness to take on vested interests, more so than any of the Labour leaders I have served under,”  said Mr Burnham on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

“They are the vested interests in energy, in banking and, yes, in the media too. That takes courage; it takes leadership to do that.”

The Shadow Health Secretary’s comments come just hours before Miliband prepares to give a speech at London University on what he claims is his radical agenda to change the British economy.

Miliband acknowledged the poor polls and accepted he had his work cut out to win over voters, but told the BBC: “I’m not in the whingeing business. This job is a tough job and it should be a tough job – it’s an audition to be the prime minister of the country.”

The potential future Prime Minister will later quote German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche in his speech, stating to his audience: “There is a saying which goes: what does not kill you makes you stronger.”

The Ipsos poll also revealed Labour’s support has dropped to 29%, having fallen three points behind the Conservative party, which now holds 32% of the public’s vote – the biggest Tory lead since October 2010.

“No wonder some of those vested interests don’t want Ed Miliband to win and don’t want Labour to win. But he has put us in a position where, six months out as a first term opposition, we are in a position to win,” said Burnham to the BBC earlier.

“There has been a campaign on in the last few days to destabilise and demoralise us. My message this morning is it just won’t work. In fact it’s going to galvanise us. We are united behind Ed and we are fighting to win an election that matters so much to so many people across the country.”

Main image courtesy of NHS Confederation, inset courtesy of Ed Miliband, with thanks.

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