UK Politics

In quotes: Reaction to Ed Miliband's victory

Ed Miliband has been elected new leader of the Labour Party, narrowly beating his older brother - who was long considered the favourite - in the final round of voting. Here is a round-up of political reaction:

ED MILIBAND:

I am proud of the leadership of both Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, but we lost the election, and we lost it badly and my message to the country is this: I know we lost trust, I know we lost touch, I know we need to change. Today a new generation has taken charge of Labour, a new generation that understands the call of change.

DAVID MILIBAND:

Obviously I am genuinely delighted for him because if I can't win then he should lead the party ... This is Ed's day. It's a huge day for the Miliband family, not quite the day for the Miliband family I would have wanted - the Miliband D family, rather than the Miliband E - but that's the way things go ... I am not going to talk about myself at all today. This is all about Ed setting a new agenda for the Labour Party. We've all then got to make sure we rally behind it in a very strong way. I think there is a real mood in the party to do that.

SADIQ KHAN, ED MILIBAND'S CAMPAIGN AGENT:

Whoever would have won, we would have seen the Labour family coming behind the winner, and I'm pleased it was Ed Miliband ... He's learned lessons from Labour's defeat in May. We need to learn those lessons by changing our policy, by changing our way of politics.

FORMER CHANCELLOR ALISTAIR DARLING:

Ed knows that to win back the trust of the British people we have to chime with the electorate. He spoke a lot of common sense in his acceptance speech and he knows the economic recovery is not derailed. We are at a critical point in getting the deficit down but the government is risking losing tens of thousands of jobs.

FORMER CABINET MINISTER PETER HAIN:

I'm delighted, but you saw the narrowness of the vote. These are two outstanding leaders for a new generation in politics, and they are going to play a big role in the future. I think we are now in the position to start to win back the five million voters that we have lost since the last general election.

FORMER CABINET MINISTER TESSA JOWELL:

It's going to be a moment of tremendous pain and disappointment because David, for many years, had hoped he would one day lead the Labour Party. And I think that everything that he said during his campaign showed how much thought he'd given to that and how passionately he wanted to do the job. But, the point is that he knew it was a contest, he knew that this was possible and both the Miliband brothers are such decent people, that I know that Ed will be sensitive to David's disappointment and David will just be incredibly generous. And most of all, the whole Labour Party wants to unite behind Ed as the new leader.

PRIME MINISTER DAVID CAMERON:

Congratulations to Ed Miliband. I was Leader of the Opposition for four years and know what a demanding but important job it is. I wish him and his family well.

CONSERVATIVE PARTY CHAIRMAN BARONESS WARSI:

Ed Miliband wasn't the choice of his MPs, wasn't the choice of Labour Party members but was put in to power by union votes. I'm afraid this looks like a great leap backwards for the Labour Party.

NICK CLEGG, DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER AND LIB DEM LEADER:

I congratulate Ed Miliband on his election to leader of the Labour Party. Our democracy works best when governments are challenged and scrutinised by principled and effective opposition. Leading a political party is an exciting and challenging task and I wish Ed all the best in his new role.

SIMON HUGHES, LIB DEM DEPUTY LEADER:

I want warmly to congratulate Ed Miliband on becoming the new Labour leader. It is good to hear that he intends to practise a new politics of working across party boundaries in the national interest. The country has a tough time ahead and it will be vital that he wakes up to the challenge that Britain faces. As leader he must recognise that his party can no longer remain head-in-the-sand deficit-deniers.

TONY WOODLEY, JOINT LEADER, UNITE UNION:

We welcome Ed's victory - this is a fantastic achievement for him and for the policies he has been promoting. His victory, coming from nowhere a few months ago, is a clear sign that the party wants change, to move on from New Labour and reconnect with working people. Ed has won by hitting the issues people care about - stopping the assassination of public services, fighting for a living wage, standing up for manufacturing, a better future for young people. Now the party must unite behind its new leadership and take the fight to the Tories.

DAVE PRENTIS, GENERAL SECRETARY, UNISON:

Unison backed Ed Miliband because of the way he listened and understood the needs of ordinary working people. We look forward to working together to challenge the coalition government and its regressive cuts agenda. Under Ed's leadership, Labour must offer an alternative economic strategy, promoting growth and recovery, together with fairness ... As a priority, Ed must reconnect with Labour's lost voters, including public sector workers, many of whom have been turned off in the past because they believed that Labour had deserted them.

NICOLA STURGEON, SNP DEPUTY LEADER:

Ed Miliband's first test will be next May's Scottish elections when voters will face a choice between an experienced SNP team that has Scotland at its heart and a Labour Party that is Westminster-focused, out of ideas and out of touch. The SNP is looking forward to that contest.

IAIN GRAY, SCOTTISH LABOUR LEADER:

Ed Miliband will be a great asset to not just Labour but the country. Victory in the Scottish elections next year can be the platform for Ed Miliband to be the next Labour prime minister of Britain, and soon.

DAVID BLUNKETT, FORMER HOME SECRETARY:

We've never seen anything quite like what we've had, with two brothers neck and neck. These are brothers. They're blood brothers. They can't afford to fall out in the way we had with Tony and Gordon, and neither can we."

ADAM MARSHALL, BRITISH CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE:

We urge Ed Miliband to make reconnecting with business, both locally and nationally, a key priority of his early months in office. Economic recovery depends on improving business confidence, and making it easier - not harder - for companies to take new people on.

JOHN SAUVEN, DIRECTOR, GREENPEACE UK:

We have high hopes that the man who brought an end to the era of coal-fired power stations with unlimited emissions will be the right man to hold Cameron's 'greenest government ever' to their promises.

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