‘Labour has learned lessons from Bradford’ Miliband tells conference

4:23pm Saturday 9th June 2012 in Bradford By Hannah Postles

Ed Miliband at Labour’s Yorkshire and Humber regional conference, held at the University of BradfordEd Miliband at Labour’s Yorkshire and Humber regional conference, held at the University of Bradford Buy this photo »

Labour leader Ed Miliband today told party members it had “learned its lessons” after its shock defeat in the Bradford West by-election.

At the party’s 70th Yorkshire and Humber regional conference at the University of Bradford, the MP told members Labour needed to win back the trust of residents in the city after it lost the seat to Respect’s George Galloway when voters went to the polls in March.

He told delegates: “Here in Bradford we know that challenge almost more than anywhere – we lost a by-election and made gains overall in the local Council elections, but it was a struggle for us against Respect.

“We have got to learn the lessons from that, how to engage with local communities. Learn the lessons about what went right and what went wrong here in Bradford, and that process is under way.”

In a 30-minute speech, Mr Miliband spoke about the need to restore trust in politics, telling party members: “We must be the ones to change that.”

He said Labour would do it by: “Changing our economy so that people believe things can be different.”

Mr Miliband also spoke about the problem of long-term youth unemployment, saying it had risen by 316 per cent in a year.

He added: “We need more apprenticeships for our young people.

“If we win the next election, we will say to companies, if you want a Government contract, you have to offer apprenticeships for the next generation.”

Speaking afterwards, Mr Miliband told the Telegraph & Argus about why he thought the party had lost during the Bradford West by-election.

He said: “I think what went wrong is we lost touch with parts of the community in Bradford – including parts of the Muslim community. That’s why I’m here in Bradford, engaging with all parts of the community.”

Mr Miliband also visited members of The Bradford Circle, formed by the city’s Muslim Women’s Council, to listen to their views.

e-mail: hannah.postles

Paul Champion

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