Camden Labour stands firm with Ed Miliband challenging political foes to ‘be brave or shut it’

Cllr Sarah Hayward. Picture: Polly Hancock.

Cllr Sarah Hayward. Picture: Polly Hancock. - Credit: Archant

Leading politicians from Ed Miliband’s home borough of Camden have rallied behind the embattled Labour leader, slamming his opponents within the party for damaging his general election prospects.

Ed Milliband

Ed Milliband - Credit: Getty Images

In the last week, Mr Miliband has endured arguably the most torrid period of his leadership to date – with a succession of anonymous Labour MPs criticising his leadership in national newspapers.

Camden Council leader Cllr Sarah Hayward became one of many prominent Camden politicians to throw their support behind Mr Miliband, calling on his detractors to “be brave or shut up”.

Cllr Hayward, who is bidding to stand as Labour’s replacement for outgoing Holborn and St Pancras MP Frank Dobson, told the Ham&High: “I think it’s quite telling that you can’t actually ask these people what they think because none of them are brave enough to put their name to it. They should be brave or shut up.

“We have an excellent leader, a good policy platform and the party needs to pull together and win the general election.”

Mr Miliband, who lives in Dartmouth Park, has faced growing pressure since his party’s annual conference in September where he admitted he forgot a major section of his speech, which tackled the issue of reducing Britain’s deficit.

Labour and Mr Miliband have since seen their poll ratings plummet.

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The Labour leader suffered a further blow last week as the New Statesman, a traditionally left-leaning magazine which backed Mr Miliband as leader in 2010, described him as an “old-style Hampstead socialist” who had failed to “connect with the electorate”.

Glenda Jackson, Labour’s Hampstead and Kilburn MP, refused to be drawn into the storm.

She said: “It’s over and it’s gone. I’m not entering into this. I absolutely support Ed Miliband.”

Meanwhile, Tulip Siddiq, who hopes to replace Ms Jackson when she steps down next year, is one of over 100 Labour parliamentary candidates to have signed a letter calling on “an anonymous few” to stop destabilising Mr Miliband and the party.

She said: “I’ve known Ed for a long time because I grew up in Camden and I wish everyone could meet him face-to-face before the election because that would change everyone’s mind.

“He’s not a media personality. He’s a good politician - a good person.”

Catherine West, Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Hornsey and Wood Green, has not signed the letter, insisting: “I am a big supporter of Ed’s and I don’t feel the need to rush out letters and campaigns. He stands on his own.”