Sunday News Review

Ed says Labour made mistakes

Ed Miliband yesterday urged unhappy Lib Dems to work with him to fight the Government’s cuts. He condemned Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg’s decision to sign up to the coalition as a “tragic mistake”. The Labour leader said he was pleased many Lib Dems “now see Labour as the main vehicle for their hopes”. He admitted Labour made “serious mistakes” in Government, losing voters’ trust by being too slow by being too slow to admit the need for cuts or regulate the banks. – the Mirror

Ed Miliband tore into Labour‘s style of government under Tony Blair andGordon Brown today as he promised to rebuild a grassroots movement that would go beyond “the bureaucratic state” and look to local people for answers. Seeking to sustain momentum after the party’s success in last week’s Oldham East and Saddleworth byelection, the Labour leader insisted the party would only move forward if it understood how and why it “lost touch with people’s daily struggle” during 13 years in power. Miliband told the Fabian Society that he was proud of much that Labour did in office, but that its failure to regulate the markets and, latterly, its belief that the state knew best, left it remote from the people it existed to serve. – the Observer

The Labour leader appealed to disaffected Lib Dems to work with him to oppose the spending cuts being implemented by the Coalition Government. Mr Miliband said the decision by Nick Clegg, the Lib Dem leader, to enter government with the Conservatives was a “tragic mistake” and he declared himself ready to co-operate with the Lib Dems “in Parliament and outside it”. Mr Miliband, who has been faced accusations of a lacklustre performance since becoming leader, admitted his party had made mistakes and needed to change course. In a speech to the Fabian Society, Mr Miliband acknowledged that Labour had lost voters’ trust by failing to regulate banks, seeming “in thrall” to the markets and remote from ordinary people’s values. – Telegraph

Lansley under fire

Hospitals will have to close, patient care could be hit and treatment rationed by GPs because of the government’s controversial shake-up of the NHS, health bosses and medical leaders have warned. The biggest restructuring of the service since its creation in 1948 is described as “extraordinarily risky” by NHS leaders and medical groups in a new report. The analysis by the NHS Confederation – comprising the British Medical Association, the Faculty of Public Health and the royal colleges representing GPs, surgeons and hospital doctors – comes ahead of publication of the government’s flagship Health and Social Care Bill on Wednesday. The report accepts the need for reform but criticises the health secretary, Andrew Lansley, for failing to persuade patients and health professionals that his radical proposals to hand the power to commission services to GPs will improve the NHS, and for not doing enough to boost patient power. – the Observer

Cameron turns down Coulson resignation

David Cameron refused to accept the resignation of his communications chief, Andy Coulson, over the News of the World phone-hacking scandal, it was reported last night. Tensions inside Number 10 have mounted over the potential damage caused to the government’s reputation by allegations of voice-mail hacking and mobile phone interception at the Sunday red-top when Mr Coulson was its editor. After a series of rows with Downing Street policy chief Steve Hilton, Mr Coulson offered to quit, according to The Mail on Sunday. However, both Mr Cameron and George Osborne, the Chancellor, are said to have refused to accept the resignation and vowed to stand by Mr Coulson, who has played a key role in overseeing the coalition’s media strategy. “Andy has said sorry to the PM for the embarrassment caused by the phone-bugging saga,” a source, described as a “well placed insider”, told The MoS. “He said it was making it difficult to do his job properly but he was doing his best.” – the Independent

Yes vs. No

The battle to overhaul Britain’s voting system is wide open, with almost two-thirds of people amenable to ditching first past the post. An exclusive poll for The Independent on Sunday says a third (34 per cent) have already decided to back the alternative vote in the referendum planned for 5 May, a vote which Labour peers are seeking to delay. But the ComRes survey reveals 61 per cent could be persuaded to support changing the voting system when they have heard more of the arguments for and against. Surprisingly, 54 per cent of Conservative voters are open to persuasion. It comes as the Labour leader, Ed Miliband, said he would honour his pledge to campaign in favour of AV. “The reason politics is discredited is because politicians always break their promises,” he said. In a speech to a Fabian Society, he also made a direct appeal to Liberal Democrats unhappy at their party’s “tragic mistake” in joining the Tories in government. – the Independent

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