By Geoff Berkeley 20/04 Updated: 25/04 09:32
FORMER Foreign Secretary David Miliband believes victory in next month’s local elections in Worcester could help lay the platform for the Labour Party to return to Government.
Labour’s 13-year parliamentary stronghold in the city came to an end in 2010 when Mike Foster was unseated by Tory Robin Walker in the last General Election.
“Worcester is the sort of place where Labour needs to establish a bridgehead,” Mr Miliband said.
“If you can’t win the parliamentary seat in Worcester it is very hard to win a General Election and if you can’t run the council then it is hard to get your parliamentary strength built up.”
He was speaking during a whistle-stop visit to the city where he toured The Hive history and library centre, before chatting to students at the university’s City Campus on Castle Street.
He was joined by Vice Chancellor Professor David Green and Joy Squires, Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Worcester.
Mr Miliband said Mrs Squires’ early selection was a signal of intent as the party looks to regain voters’ trust.
“I think we lost trust and people had the sense that we had run out of steam. We thought we had ideas but the public decided that our time was up,” he added.
“I think that in the economy, in public spending and in a range of immigration and housing issues people thought we had lost the plot. We have got to recognise that.”
“We have obviously got a finally balanced situation at the moment, but I also think it is important that when Labour takes a kicking, which we did in 2010, we don’t retreat.
“Worcester is an important area for Labour and we want to send a message to people here that we select a very good candidate early, that we fight for the wards for the local elections hard and that we are open for business.”
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