Senior Labour figures put pressure on Ed Miliband

Miliband is struggling to gain the political momentum and his conference speech has appeared to clear the way for critics in the party to speak openly. Picture Michael Gillen.
Miliband is struggling to gain the political momentum and his conference speech has appeared to clear the way for critics in the party to speak openly. Picture Michael Gillen.
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PRESSURE is mounting on Ed Miliband over his leadership after more influential figures in the party took a swipe at his election strategy.

The Labour leader is struggling to gain the political momentum and his conference speech, during which he failed to mention the deficit, has appeared to clear the way for critics in the party to speak openly.

Former Labour cabinet minister Dame Tessa Jowell. Picture: PA

Former Labour cabinet minister Dame Tessa Jowell. Picture: PA

Concerns have been raised about plans to introduce a mansion tax on properties worth more than £2 million.

Margaret Hodge, chairman of the powerful public accounts committee, told The Times it was “too crude to work properly”.

And former Labour cabinet minister Dame Tessa Jowell, told the newspaper: “I am concerned about my typically older families who are asset rich and income poor.

“They bought houses 40 years ago which have appreciated enormously in value and they certainly can’t afford a mansion tax.

“The important thing is we set out how it will be applied and the fairness test that will apply.”

It comes after the Labour leader was accused by party grandee Lord Prescott of showing a severe lack of ambition in a damning assessment of his “far too timid” strategy and underwhelming conference performance.

Prominent Labour donors also raised concerns over the weekend, with Lord Noon, one of the party’s significant individual benefactors, saying the party “really need to buck up” and Lord Levy, who was Tony Blair’s chief fund raiser, criticising the tax plans as “totally inappropriate”.

Meanwhile, shadow chancellor Ed Balls said he was “surprised” that Mr Miliband had forgotten the economic section of his keynote conference speech.

He told ITV1’s The Agenda: “Sometimes in life you can forget the most important things. In that speech, not talking about the deficit.”

Research by Conservative pollster Lord Ashcroft yesterday put Labour two points down on 30%, behind the Conservatives who were unchanged on 32%.

A survey by Populus, however, put Labour on 37%, ahead of the Tories on 31%, Ukip on 15% and the Lib Dems on 8%.