ED Miliband insisted he would not “buckle under the pressure” as he sought to quell infighting about his leadership and turn Labour’s fire on the Tories and Ukip.
In a speech yesterday that was billed as a relaunch, Mr Miliband appealed for his party not to “let down” ordinary people struggling to get by in a Britain run for the “privileged few”.
He attempted to turn the focus away from his own popularity, saying the important thing was how to “change the country” rather than who has their “picture on the wall in Downing Street”.
“There’s a saying that goes ‘what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’,” Mr Miliband began. “As leader of the opposition, over the last few days I have learned what that really means.
“You need resilience in this job, you need thick skin, but above all you need belief in what you are doing. Not belief based on a longing to have a picture on the wall of Downing Street, not belief driven by a sense of entitlement, not belief driven by the idea that it’s somehow Labour’s turn, but belief driven by the idea of how we must change the country.
“That’s why I’m in this job, that’s why it matters to me, that’s what drives me on. And it is through our beliefs that we are going to win the general election.”
Labour would be “talking more about immigration as a party”, he said, “but always on the basis of Labour values, not Ukip values”.
In a direct attack on Nigel Farage’s party, he said Ukip had “got away with it for too long”, listing what he said were the party’s policies on the NHS, gay marriage and single mothers.
It was natural to feel a sense of longing for the past, he said, but he added: “Mr Farage, you may want to live in that world, but come the general election, I don’t believe the British people will follow.”
In a video that has emerged from 2012, Mr Farage proposed an “insurance-based system of healthcare”.
Louise Bours MEP, Ukip’s health spokeswoman, said it was a “downright lie” to say the party wanted to privatise the NHS.
She added: “I’m baffled as to why [Mr Miliband] doesn’t understand that policies can change, since his own party have changed so many of their own.”