Ed Miliband speaking at the University of London on 13th November 2014
Ed Miliband speaking at the University of London on 13th November 2014

Following arguably the worst week of his political life, Ed Miliband made a combative speech at the University of London today as he tried to silence criticism of his leadership.

While seeking to switch the spotlight on to policy and away from sniping about his performance the Labour leader promised a new crackdown on companies and individuals who avoid tax.

In what the Independent's chief political commentator John Rentoul described as a re-run of his conference speech, here are seven things Mr Miliband said (while reading from an autocue)...

1. On his leadership crisis

You know there is a saying that goes: “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” Being leader of the opposition, particularly in the last few days, I know what it means. You need resilience in this job. You need thick skin. But above all, you need belief in what you are doing. Not belief based on a longing to have a picture on the wall in Downing Street. Not belief driven by a sense of entitlement, that it is somehow Labour’s turn. Instead, belief driven by how we must change the country.

2. On political opponents

We’re in a fight not because our opponents think we’re destined to lose the election. But because they fear we can win. And between now and the election they are going to use every tactic to try to destabilise, distract us and throw us off course. Our task, the task for every person in this party, is simple: To focus our eyes on the prize of changing this country.

3. On inequality

Now I have heard some people say they don’t know what we stand for. So let me take the opportunity today to spell it out in the simplest of terms ... This country is too unequal. And we need to change it … So it starts with one core belief. Our country only works for the privileged few today, not for most people.

4. On the “zero-zero” economy

It is about: … People making a decent living but who can’t afford to buy a home of their own. People who worry that one of the foundation stones of their security – the NHS – is under threat. People asking why they are on zero hours contracts while some of those at the top get away with paying zero tax.

5. On the economic system

This inequality is not some accident. It is driven by beliefs about how you run countries and how we should run Britain. Wrong beliefs. Beliefs that have had their time. The belief that insecurity is the way you make working people work harder. The view that low pay is the only way we can compete in the world. The idea that markets will always get the right outcome, even if that means powerful interests have all the power.

6. On his own values

Here’s what I believe… Security. Hard work rewarded. Vested interests made to work in the public interest. Public services there when you need them. And a country succeeding together, not ripped apart. Labour values. The values of the British people. The values that will win us the general election.

7. On next year's election

The Tories have no answers to the discontent people feel. UKIP have wildly wrong answers to that discontent. And who knows what one can say about the Liberal Democrats? Friends, I say we can take this lot apart and it is time we did.

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