Ed Miliband's keynote address applauded by county Labour party
LABOUR leader Ed Miliband's keynote address to his party conference has been lauded by Gloucestershire activists.
Former Gloucester MP Parmjit Dhanda hailed it as "the speech of a Prime Minister in waiting".
Thomas Lydon, campaign manager for Stroud Labour Party, said it "ticked all the boxes" and vindicated what the party had been doing in the county.
The warm reception came in response to a speech in which Mr Miliband declared his ambition to "rebuild Britain as One Nation".
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David Cameron has lost the right to call himself a One Nation Prime Minister or claim that "we are all in this together" because of the way he has governed and his decision to hand tax cuts to millionaires while cutting services and benefits for the poor, he said.
Britain has overcome its greatest challenges by coming together as one nation in the past, and can overcome the challenges of 2012 by doing the same now, he said.
Mr Miliband turned his main fire directly at David Cameron's Conservatives for their record in office.
People who voted for change in 2010 have found that nothing has changed and that the economy was getting worse not better, he said.
A truly One Nation government would recognise that, while sacrifices need to be made in the current difficult economic situation, those with the broadest shoulders should bear the largest burdens.
In "one nation" politics "inequality matters to our country", he told delegates.
But he said: "We can't go back to Old Labour. We must be the party of the private sector just as much as the party of the public sector.
"As much the party of the small business struggling against the odds as the home help struggling against the cuts."
Labour needed to be the party of the south as well as the north, the "squeezed middle" and "those in poverty".
"There is no future for this party as the party of one sectional interest of our country," he said.
Responding to the speech, Mr Dhanda, who lost the Gloucester seat to the Conservatives in 2010, said: "I think Ed Miliband gave the speech of a Prime Minister in waiting.
"His One Nation message making it clear under the next Labour government it doesn't matter whether you went to a state school or use the NHS you should expect to have the same opportunities in life, and that the people who benefit should not just be for a few millionaires who received tax breaks of £40,000 while pensioners foot the bill."
Mr Lydon said: "I thought it was a fantastic speech.
"What he said is what we as delegates and the country needed to hear – Labour are up for the job.
"What he said vindicates what we have been doing in Stroud and Gloucestershire.
"It ticked all the boxes."
Councillor Kate Haigh, leader of the Labour group on Gloucester City Council, said: "I thought it was a brilliant performance. It went down really well in the hall."He talked about a Britain where everyone is valued."