ED HUNTER; Miliband Goes after Tories on NHS, Welfare and Economy

The Mirror (London, England), September 28, 2011 | Go to article overview

ED HUNTER; Miliband Goes after Tories on NHS, Welfare and Economy


Byline: JASON BEATTIE

ED Miliband came out fighting yesterday by pummelling David Cameron on the NHS, welfare and the economy.

The Labour leader branded the Prime Minister a two-faced leader who stood for tax cuts for the rich while the rest of us got poorer.

And he pledged to sweep away the rotten Conservative values that encouraged a "fast buck culture".

In a powerful speech which captivated the party faithful, he warned the Tories: "I'm up for the fight."

He added: "On the 50p tax rate, on banks, on the closed circles of Britain, on welfare, on the NHS, David Cameron's not about a new set of rules. He's the last gasp of the old rules. The wrong values for our country and for our time.

"Only David Cameron could believe that you make ordinary families work harder by making them poorer and you make the rich work harder by making them richer. How dare they say we're all in it together."

His biggest cheer from the Liverpool conference came when he tore apart the Government's NHS reforms.

Bringing delegates to their feet for a lengthy ovation, Mr Miliband said: "Let me tell David Cameron this. It's the oldest truth in politics. He knows it and now the public know it. You can't trust the Tories with the NHS."

He accused the Tory leader of duping voters before the general election that the health service would be protected. "He asked for your trust. And then he got into Downing Street and within a year he'd gone back on every word he said. He betrayed your trust," he said. "No more top-down reorganisations? He betrayed your trust. No more hospital closures? He betrayed your trust. No more long waits? He betrayed your trust. And the biggest betrayal of all? The values of the NHS. Britain's values, the values he promised to protect, betrayed."

Mr Miliband used the 55-minute speech to set out his vision for Britain and pointedly drew a line under the Tony Blair and Gordon Brown years, insisting: "I'm my own man."

He said there was a "once in a generation chance" to write a new chapter in Britain's history.

Under his leadership Labour would not just sweep away the Tories but the greedy bankers, rotten political systems and welfare cheats.

The speech - which suffered a fiveminute live blackout for TV viewers because of an electrical problem - won plaudits from Labour grandees, activists and unions.

Unison chief Dave Prentis said: "Ed's passionate speech hit the right buttons. It showed he genuinely cares about Labour values, public services and our great NHS, values that will resonate with the people." Former Chancellor Alistair Darling hit out at the delegates who had booed the mention of Tony Blair's name.

But he said he liked the "economic realism" of Mr Miliband.

Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper added: "Mr Miliband was talking about people across Britain who are feeling really under pressure and facing a quiet crisis because of the cost of living and the pressure on their jobs, and the worries they have for the future."

Shadow Energy Secretary Meg Hillier yesterday warned more old people could die this winter because of the huge hike in fuel bills.

She warned the big six firms she was putting them on notice.

She said: "They may be private companies but they should deliver a public service."

It came as Shadow Culture Minister Ivan Lewis was slapped down after suggesting a register of professional journalists should be set up.

Mr Lewis, who suffered a string of bad headlines as a Government minister for bombarding a female member of staff with suggestive texts, told delegates reporters guilty of breaking strict new press rules could be "struck off" and banned from working in the media.

But Mr Miliband's spokesman said: "We are not in the business of regulating journalists."

Today in Liverpool, Shadow Justice Secretary Sadiq Khan will propose a law to give murder victims' families new rights to stop criminals being put first by judges focussed on ensuring a fair trial. …

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