Second up to the podium, Labour Leader Ed Miliband was pushed hard by the audience at tonight’s Question Time debate.
The first question of the night was from Elizabeth Moody, who said, “how can we trust the Labour Party with the UK economy?”
Mr Miliband proceeded to outline exactly how he plans to cut the deficit, pledging things such as reversing the cut in tax cuts to millionaires. He was consistently pushed and reminded of the party’s past and their previous bad handling of the UK economy, but Miliband insisted that they have learnt their lesson.
Ms Moody wasn’t the only one asking Miliband why we should trust Labour with the economy. One audience member referred to the note left by the previous Labour treasurer apologising for the state of the economy, which was called a “joke” by Ed Balls.
Mr Balls would be Miliband’s Chancellor should he win next week’s election, and the worry is that he simply won’t take the economy seriously. The Labour leader responded by simply ignoring the question, and instead went on to discuss what he would do to help small businesses.
An audience member then asked, “would you agree that when Labour were last in government they overspent?”
Simple response: “No I don’t”. This was not necessarily the answer expected considering the state of the economy after the last Labour government. Miliband would have been right in saying that the audience may not have agreed with this statement. Another audience member went as far as to say that Mr Miliband was simply “lying” and that it is ludicrous for him to say that Labour didn’t bankrupt the UK.
Simon Wilkinson was the next to push the Labour leader, asking, “why is the Labour Party misleading the country about having to do a deal with the SNP?”
Mr Miliband responded that the Labour Party would not be doing a deal with the SNP and that if this meant Labour not getting into power then “so be it”. He said he would refuse to sacrifice the future of the country in order to get into government. He emphasised that he would not do deals with the Scottish National Party no matter what that would mean. An audience member posed that this would rule out a future Labour government because Labour is not likely to win the most seats in next weeks election.
Another audience member simply stated: “You need to be honest with voters about what you might do if you don’t get a majority.”
The Labour Leader received his first laugh of the night with his answer to this question, by saying that he did not like the idea of going into a “darkened room with Nick Clegg” which had been brought up by “the other guy” earlier in the evening. However, his answer was similar to that of Cameron’s saying that he would fight until election day and would not be willing to sacrifice anything in his manifesto. Miliband said that even if he didn’t win a majority, he has a manifesto which he believes in and wouldn’t barter any of that away. He would spend his time trying to get as much of his manifesto into government as possible.