Council gains are just the first step, says Miliband

By Tim Clarke 09/05 Updated: 09/05 17:30

Buy photos » Ed Miliband is welcomed to Charlie's Cafe by newly elected Labour councillor Richard Boorn. 1912008MMR1

LABOUR leader Ed Miliband admitted his party still had a long way to go to regain Worcester's parliamentary seat from the Tories, despite significant gains in the city council elections.

Mr Miliband joined party members and campaigners at Charlie's Café on Sidbury on Friday lunchtime to celebrate Labour's success in the council's elections, which saw the Conservatives lose overall control.

The result leaves the Conservatives with 17 councillors, Labour with 15, the Liberal Democrats on two and the Green Party with its first-ever city councillor Neil Laurenson.

The dramatic evening saw Labour gain three extra seats on the council to wipe out the Conservatives' slender majority but Mr Miliband said the success was only the first step to restoring people's faith in his party.

"I wanted to come here to say thank you to the people of Worcester for putting more faith in Labour than they did two years ago, but I also recognise we have further to go as we didn't win the council," he said.

"I am determined every day until the General Election and after to persuade people that we deserve their trust, that we care about the issues they care about and that's why I'm here. I didn't just want to go to the places where Labour has swept the board, I wanted to go to the places where we have further work to do."

Mr Miliband, who tucked into a bacon sandwich during his short visit, urged the council's Labour group to try and seek an agreement with the Lib Dems and Greens to form a coalition, but only if it was in the best interests of local people.

"The most important thing we can do in Worcester is to do what can serve people best," he said.

"Our councillors have been elected on a mandate including affordable housing and jobs for young people. What they are going to be thinking in the next few days is how can we best fulfil that mandate. That's their decision and I have total confidence they will make the right choice."

After leaving Worcester the Labour leader headed down to Southampton to continue the celebrations after seeing his party gain more than 800 extra councillors across the country on a disastrous night for the Liberal Democrats and Conservatives.

Buy photos» Mr Miliband celebrates a night of sweeping gains across the country with Labour councillors and supporters in Worcester. 1912008MMR5.

Buy photos» The Labour leader enjoys a cuppa as he listens to the views of supporters. Pictures by Marcus Mingins 1912008MMR3

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