UK Politics

Labour leader Ed Miliband inspired by Clement Attlee

Clement Attlee (1952)
Image caption Clement Attlee was the Labour prime minister of a reforming post-war government

Labour leader Ed Miliband has suggested he will draw inspiration from the post-war administration of Clement Attlee if his party comes to power in 2015.

Mr Miliband told the Guardian that Attlee managed to run a budget surplus despite the challenges of creating the NHS and post-war shortages.

He also pledged to change Whitehall's relationship with town halls with a "New English Deal" for local councils.

Mr Miliband said "great things" could be achieved despite the economic state.

He added: "If you go into the roots and history of the Labour Party and think about our most dramatic society-changing government, the 1945 government, we all remember the NHS, building homes, and the family allowance.

Sardines ban

"What is less remembered is the other half - yes, they created the NHS, but, believe it or not, they were running a budget surplus. There was wartime rationing.

"This is a government that banned the import of sardines because they were worried about the balance of payments. It shows a government can be remembered in difficult times for doing great things."

Mr Miliband said Labour councils would be called upon to put forward ideas for the party's policy review.

He said: "Too often in the past central government, Labour central governments, told local government what to do. We are reversing this. We are going to get local government to tell us how it's done."

Attlee was the Labour prime minister between 1945 and 1951.

His administration introduced the National Health Service, nationalised one fifth of the British economy and granted independence to India.

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