The last week has been, without doubt, the best week of the Ed Miliband’s leadership of the Labour Party. With the Government in disarray over the recent revelations of phone hacking in the News of the World, Ed has succeeded in both setting the agenda on this issue, and winning the ensuing arguments.
In Prime Ministers Questions, Ed presented himself in a new light. In thoughtful, measured questioning, which is a trademark of his style, Ed slowly caused David Cameron to disintegrate.
Mr Miliband highlighted the “immoral and disgraceful” phone hacking by the News of the World. He drew Cameron into accepting the need for a public enquiry. He forced the Prime Minister into defending the acquisition of BSkyB by News International.
Finally, the Prime Minister was forced into accepting the error of his judgment in employing Andy Coulson. “I take full responsibility” were the words of choice. Those leave David Cameron open to serious and valid criticism should Andy Coulson be found guilty of the charges on which he has been arrested.
David Cameron has also bowed to the media and public pressure on him to take a harder stance against Rebekah Brooks. Ed Miliband, by calling on Rebekah Brooks to resign from News International, has forced David Cameron to admit that he would have accepted Mrs Brooks’ resignation if it had been offered to him.
Ed has all but defeated the Government on this issue, and in doing so has harnessed public opinion to great effect. Mr Miliband may have received criticism for bringing Tom Baldwin, formally of News International onto his own staff, but there is a significant difference.
When Mr Cameron employed Mr Coulson on behalf of the Government, he was aware of some of the practices at the News of the World when it was edited by Andy Coulson. These allegations show a serious error in judgment by the Prime Minister. Alan Rusbridger also claims to have told Nick Clegg in a face to face conversation about these allegations. This raises questions into Mr Clegg’s and the Liberal Democrats claims to be the only Party to resist the entreaties of News International.
By remaining calm and collected, and pressing the Prime Minister on a serious issue, Ed Miliband has bought the full force of public opinion against David Cameron and the Conservative-led Government.
More of the same, please.