U.K. Opposition Leader Faces Criticism From Party, Poll Shows

Ed Miliband is struggling to keep the support of his U.K. opposition Labour Party, according to a poll published today, as a new book alleges his narrow victory over brother David for its leadership sparked a bitter feud.

A YouGov Plc poll for the Sunday Times newspaper found 54 percent of Labour supporters were not clear what the new leader stood for and 41 percent thought Labour had made a mistake electing him. The findings formed part of a wider survey of 2,728 British adults carried out June 9 and June 10.

Miliband, 41, unexpectedly beat his older brother in the contest to replace Gordon Brown as Labour leader in September. An unauthorised biography, “Ed: The Milibands and the Making of a Labour Leader,” written by political journalists Mehdi Hasan and James Macintyre, says the episode had a far worse impact on their relationship than either has admitted publicly. Extracts were published in the Mail on Sunday newspaper today.

David Miliband, 45, used a statement on his website today to appeal for unity.

“I have moved on from the leadership election and so should everyone else,” he said. “Ed won. I stand fully behind him and so should everyone else. We all have a part to play supporting Ed and the frontbench team to ensure we expose this government for its reckless policies that are damaging the country. The rest is soap opera of which I want no part and the public have not interest.”

‘Tough’

Labour said its leader had issued no statement, pointing to comments made by health spokesman John Healey today that the party is united and determined to challenge David Cameron’s government.

“It always takes any opposition leader some time to establish themselves with the public, just as it did with David Cameron, and the thing about Ed Miliband is that’s he’s tough,” Healey told Sky News television. “He’s got a natural way of dealing with people and most importantly he’s got a very good idea about the challenges this country faces and that’s what’s he’s concentrating on.”

Ed Miliband has faced criticism for failing to inflict more political damage over the spending cuts being undertaken by the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition, which took office 13 months ago.

According to a ComRes Ltd. poll for the Sunday Mirror newspaper, 66 percent of respondents said the government’s economic policy threatens to leave a generation of young jobless. The polling company interviewed 2,011 adults online on June 8 and June 9.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew Atkinson at a.atkinson@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Hertling at jhertling@bloomberg.net

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