British opposition leader seeks to silence critics
British opposition Labour leader Ed Miliband sought to draw a line Thursday under a crisis over his leadership, brushing off his critics and insisting his party offers a real prospect of change at next year's general election.
With just six months to go until the May vote, Miliband has been rocked by reports of a plot by Labour lawmakers to oust him and by poll ratings suggesting that fewer than one in five voters think he is up to the job of prime minister.
In a speech to supporters in London, Miliband insisted he had the "resilience" to ignore the bad headlines and fight for those people who had not yet seen the benefits of Britain's economic recovery.
"Shift work, night work, zero-hours contracts, 60 hours a week, two jobs, even three jobs, to make ends meet -- for me, this election is about them," he said.
"And let me just say this -- I am willing to put up with whatever is thrown at me, in order to fight for you.
"Unemployment is at a six-year low of six percent in Britain and the economy is growing at an enviable rate compared to other European states, but wages have failed to keep pace with inflation since 2008.
Miliband repeated his assertion that Prime Minister David Cameron's Conservative-led government could not address the problems of a "deeply unequal, deeply unfair" society.
And he attacked the anti-European Union, anti-mass immigration UK Independence Party, which has been taking votes from both the Conservatives and Labour, for promising an unrealistic and unattractive return to the past.
"The Tories have no answers to the discontent people feel.
UKIP has wildly wrong answers.
I say we can take this lot apart and it's time we did," Miliband said.
Most opinion polls show Labour leading the Conservatives by a slight margin, but Miliband is personally unpopular.
Discontent in his centre-left party came to a head earlier this month when the newspapers were filled with anonymous sources attacking him and reports of a potential coup.
The plot failed to materialise but just 18 percent of voters say they think he is up to being prime minister, according to a YouGov survey published last weekend.
© 2014 AFP