Miliband vows he will stand up to ‘the powerful’

Protesters donned Alex Salmond masks outside the ICC in Birmingham ahead of leader Ed Miliband's speech. Picture: PA

Protesters donned Alex Salmond masks outside the ICC in Birmingham ahead of leader Ed Miliband's speech. Picture: PA

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ED Miliband has promised a Labour government would stand up to “the powerful” as he set out the party’s election promises at a spring rally.

The Labour leader painted a stark picture of a future Conservative government and accused the Tory party of leaving families worse off.

Unveiling Labour’s election pledge card in Birmingham yesterday, he insisted that Britain’s economic prosperity rests on the success of the many and told voters they face a choice on 7 May between parties working for the “good of some or the good of all”.

Miliband said: “The Tories say they want an election about leadership. Well, be my guest. Because Britain does face a choice about the type of leadership it wants. It is not leadership to say ‘we’re all in it together’, while cutting taxes for millionaires and imposing the cruel, vindictive, unfair bedroom tax, a tax soon to be abolished with a Labour government.

“It is not leadership to be strong in the face of the weak but always weak in the face of the strong. And it is certainly not leadership to claim to be a strong leader but to refuse to defend your record in front of the British people in a TV election debate.

“Let me tell you what leadership is: It is about having strong, consistent ideas to change the country. It is about standing up for those ideas, through thick and thin, even in the face of powerful forces.

“And it is about standing up for people from every background and every walk of life, not just those with the access, the power and the wealth. That’s what matters in leadership. That’s the leadership I will bring.”

Miliband insisted that none of Labour’s manifesto commitments will need additional borrowing.

He said: “Our country deserves a future based on the idea that Britain only succeeds when working families succeed; the idea that has powered success for Britain throughout our history.

“We’re different from the Tories because we believe our fates are intertwined as a nation. Each of us has an interest in all of us succeeding. That’s why we can’t have one rule for some and another for others – the rich and the powerful not playing their part or not paying their dues.

“I do not simply say that we should judge our nation’s success by the success of working people. I say that only by working people succeeding can we succeed as a country.”

The rally at Birmingham’s ICC was opened by Labour Party member Jermain Jackman, winner of television reality show The Voice.

Miliband was also given a public endorsement by Broadchurch star Shaun Dooley, who told the 1,500-strong crowd that the party leader had principles, adding: “I believe in Ed.”

Miliband urged voters to choose hope over fear on 7 May.

He added: “Today we set out how we can replace a failed, tired government for the few with a government that is truly for all the people of Britain. Today I tell you how we will change the way our country is run when I am prime minister.

“It is based on a different idea of how we succeed, a different idea of how we live together, a different idea of the kind of country we can become – because the choice at this election is not simply between parties and leaders, but between different visions of our country.

“The choice is between the pessimists or the optimists, fear or hope, the few or the many, the good of some or the good of all. I urge the British people to choose optimism, to choose a country for the many, to choose the good of all, to choose hope – and to recognise that when working people succeed, nothing can stop us as a country.”

The party’s pledge card sets out five promises to voters:

• A strong economic foundation

• Higher living standards for working families

• An NHS with the time to care

• Controls on immigration

• A country where the next generation can do better than the last

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