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Last Updated: Sunday, 23 September 2007, 13:54 GMT 14:54 UK
Miliband: Earn right to govern
David Miliband
We've had 10 years of New Labour in government, we've now got to look forward to a second decade
David Miliband

Speaking on BBC1's Politics Show, the Foreign Secretary David Miliband defended his reference to 10 more years of New Labour rule.

He said: "It's not a question of arrogance or not, I'm not saying we're destined to write ourselves in to the history books, that's what we'll have to earn.

"We have to earn the right. But there's no question in my mind, well it's a fact, we've had 10 years of New Labour in government, we've now got to look forward to a second decade."

He warned the trade unions that it was in their members' interests to keep low inflation and interest rates - even if that meant low public sector pay settlements:

"...the worse thing for any public sector worker or private sector worker, is for inflation to get out of control and for interest rates and mortgage rates to rise," insisted Mr Miliband.

"We've got used, in the last 10 years, to mortgage rates of 4, 5, 6%. We haven't forgotten though, mortgage rates of 10, 11, 12, 15% and so my message to public service workers is, you and the rest of us have a massive interest in ensuring that inflation is under control.

"That has meant difficult decisions over public sector pay, but frankly, no one would thank us for dodging those difficult decisions."

Middle East warning

The Foreign Secretary went on to warn that the opportunity to achieve progress in the Middle East was there, but possibly not for much longer:

"We're at crunch point because 40 years on, the window of opportunity, for a two-state solution, will narrow and even close unless we jam it open.

"And we have to jam it open, first of all by keeping absolutely clear the political goal and giving political momentum to that idea of a two-state solution.

"And secondly, we have to address the short-term, economic and social and security needs of Palestinians and of Israelis and that is absolutely critical over the next few months."

Unite key?

On the same programme, the joint leader of the Unite trade union, Derek Simpson, warned Labour that his trade union members might hold the key to the next election.

"It's these issues that David Miliband and his cabinet colleagues, along with Gordon, have got to show some progress on and convince a lot of people who've still to make their mind up," he insisted.

The forthcoming period of how we move on those priority issues, will determine the outcome of the next election
Derek Simpson

"Our polling suggests that our members, 38% have yet to make their mind up.

"Now we believe that the bulk of those would be Labour voters and so the forthcoming period of how we move on those priority issues, will determine the outcome of the next election."

Derek Simpson made it clear that he was not in favour of an October election.

"My view," he went on to say, "would of course be that it would be nice to see the new government, under Gordon, have an opportunity to show indication, lift the confidence, particularly of the core Labour vote and then to go to an election.

"This, in my opinion would be the best option."

Let us know what you think.

The Politics Show Sunday 23 September 2007 at 12:00 BST on BBC One.

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