Page last updated at 14:35 GMT, Sunday, 13 September 2009 15:35 UK

Brown "right leader" for Labour

On Sunday 13 September Andrew Marr interviewed Ed Miliband, Energy and Climate Secretary.

Please note 'The Andrew Marr Show' must be credited if any part of this transcript is used.

Energy and Climate Secretary Ed Miliband says Gordon Brown will not stand down before the next election.

ANDREW MARR:

Energy and Climate Secretart Ed Miliband

Gordon Brown reassured union leaders yesterday, the government will not pull the plug on support for the economy and jobs. Meanwhile, Unite boss Derek Simpson issued the Prime Minister with a stark ultimatum, calling on him to "abandon the New Labour platform or stand aside. New Labour is dead. It's like the parrot in Monty Python", he said. And asked who he'd like to finally take over from Mr Brown, he said if he had to name one person for the future, "I'd pick Ed Miliband. He has the potential to be a lot more progressive". Well Ed Miliband, the Energy Secretary, is with me now. Good morning.

ED MILIBAND:

Good morning.

ANDREW MARR:

Before we turn to all of that …

ED MILIBAND:

Sure.

ANDREW MARR:

… can I talk about a couple of energy stories. David MacKay, who's joining you as an adviser, has said that either we have to industrialise the countryside, cover it with wind farms, or really start building lots of power stations very fast if we're going to stop the spectre of serious power cuts in about six or seven years time.

ED MILIBAND:

Well I want to start by reassuring people watching this programme, because I don't think they should be misled by the introduction to this programme, that there's no danger of power cuts in the next decade.

ANDREW MARR:

Why not?

ED MILIBAND:

Well here's the question which David MacKay was talking about, which is do we meet our security, our energy security needs in a high carbon way - so simply more gas-fired power stations, for example - or do we do, it as we want to do so, with renewable energy, nuclear energy and clean coal? And David was saying there's lots of opposition to that low carbon route.

ANDREW MARR:

Absolutely, and so we have to take some hard decisions.

ED MILIBAND:

Exactly.

ANDREW MARR:

However, a lot of our power stations are if not clapped out, pretty close to the end of their working lives, and the government is going to have to get on very, very fast to build new power stations, including nuclear power stations. Don't you have to tear up the old sort of planning system to ensure that the lights stay on?

ED MILIBAND:

Well we are changing the planning system, and that was what the Low Carbon Transition Plan that we published in the summer did. But let me just be clear with you. Power stations are closing, but we already have about 10 gigawatts - that's enough to supply 10 million households - of new power stations being built, and another 10 gigawatts that have got planning consent. But the real issue is do we carry on in a high carbon way, or do we, for example, go down the wind power route, the nuclear route and the clean coal route? Now government is putting in place the policies to make that happen. I think the big thing - and David was saying this - we have to win public consent for that.

ANDREW MARR:

Well I was going to say, because people don't want wind farms …

ED MILIBAND:

Indeed.

ANDREW MARR:

… ruining the countryside.

ED MILIBAND:

Indeed, indeed.

ANDREW MARR:

They don't want nuclear power stations and you've got to persuade them …

ED MILIBAND:

(over) Absolutely right, absolutely right. And I've made myself a bit unpopular by saying that we can't simply say no to wind farms everywhere. So we're changing, we're changing the rules. I also think there's something important about the changes to the rules that we're doing. We're saying to local authorities who make the decisions on wind power, for example, you should tell us where the best places are for wind power - where's the wind blowing greatest, where can they have the most potential? - but you can't simply say no to everything. You can't simply say well we're not part of the government's strides towards greater renewable energy. And I think that's an important change, but it's also about public persuasion. And the other thing to say, Andrew, is that we might think everyone opposes wind power. Actually, the evidence is about 70% of the population support wind farms, and if you live near one …

ANDREW MARR:

(over) Just not round them.

ED MILIBAND:

No. Well actually if you live near a wind farm, you're more likely to support it. But the silent majority, I think is relatively silent on this, and part of my job is to help them to speak up.

ANDREW MARR:

So there is a real sense that we're kind of running out of time on these issues. Don't you think this is something that Labour should have dealt with at some earlier time in the last 10 years?

ED MILIBAND:

Well, to be fair, we have been dealing with it. If you take the nuclear issue, my predecessor John Hutton made a very controversial …

ANDREW MARR:

(over) Now with EDF.

ED MILIBAND:

… made a very controversial decision to say we should change the policy on nuclear and the moratorium on nuclear power stations. John was right about that and we are driving forward, and I was talking to the nuclear industry this week.

ANDREW MARR:

Okay, some dates. When will we see the first nuclear power, new nuclear power station actually start?

ED MILIBAND:

(over) End of 2017, 2018. That's the plan.

ANDREW MARR:

And what about the new generation of gas-fired power stations?

ED MILIBAND:

Well gas-fired power stations are already being built. They're being built now. The key thing in my view, one of the key things is clean coal power stations. That's controversial too because people say well carbon capture and storage, which is a new technology to capture the carbon rather than emitting it …

ANDREW MARR:

Yes.

ED MILIBAND:

- well that's a demonstration, that's a new technology. Should we really be going down that road? We should be for energy security needs and for climate change reasons.

ANDREW MARR:

Are you happy to see your predecessor John Hutton actually part of the private sector industry now?

ED MILIBAND:

Yeah, absolutely. I'm sure he's followed all the rules. John is a man of great integrity.

ANDREW MARR:

Now the other big energy story of course is Copenhagen an the global deal on climate change. And you were quoted saying you know it's in some trouble.

ED MILIBAND:

Yeah.

ANDREW MARR:

And what I'd like to say to you is come on, surely not? This is not one of those deals that can go down. In the end there's going to be an agreement, surely?

ED MILIBAND:

You're the optimist in this. I'm not, I'm not sure that's the case. I'm an optimist by nature, but it's tough. It's tough because we're trying to do something the world has never done before, which is to say let's have an agreement involving all countries and let's cut global emissions of carbon dioxide.

ANDREW MARR:

But everybody … I mean Gordon Brown and everybody else said this is an absolutely essential crunch moment for the world.

ED MILIBAND:

(over) It is, it is, it is.

ANDREW MARR:

When politicians say that …

ED MILIBAND:

It is.

ANDREW MARR:

… they then make the deal, don't they?

ED MILIBAND:

You're just a cynic, Andrew. You're a cynic about that. It's in the balance. If you look at what's happening in the United States, President Obama got his legislation on climate change through the House of Representatives, the lower house, by six or seven votes and he's got a big battle on in the Senate. If you look at what's happening in India … I was in India recently. They've got 400 million people living on less than a dollar a day. They're saying, "Well how do we get with this programme?"

ANDREW MARR:

So you really think it could fall …

ED MILIBAND:

Yeah. But here's what the an… here's what's important about this. We have to have imagination, the British government has to be at the centre of pushing this forward. We have some pretty clear commitments on the table. We need to encourage others to do so. And it's not just me, but my brother David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, Gordon, are all going to be straining every sinew to get this deal. Because if we don't, I think it will be a tragedy for the world and future generations would look back at us and say, "You had the chance to act and you didn't".

ANDREW MARR:

And you people failed. And it is possible, you think, that this will fail?

ED MILIBAND:

It's possible it will fail. I'm determined it doesn't, I'm determined it doesn't, and I'll be spending a lot of my time in the next few months trying to make sure it doesn't fail, along with other members of the government. But it's tough.

ANDREW MARR:

Now you mention other members of the government. Red Ed. Are you the Red Ed because Derek Simpson of Unite, as you know, has tipped you as the next leader of the party because you are more progressive, you have the ability to be more progressive. Are you pleased by that?

ED MILIBAND:

I think it's quite simple really: Derek's on a one-man mission to destroy my political career, clearly at many different, at many different levels. Look, I'm very clear about this. We have the right leader in Gordon Brown. When you think about a year ago, Andrew, Lehman Brothers went bust and we saw all those risks and the references back to the 1930s, depression, crash and all those things. Who was the person that acted in Britain and around the world? It was Gordon. And I think it's very important to remember that. So …

ANDREW MARR:

But he's in terrible, terrible trouble in the country. You know his opinion poll ratings are awful, your party's opinion poll ratings are awful. Are you really sure that he's actually going to lead the party into the election?

ED MILIBAND:

Yes I am, yes I am.

ANDREW MARR:

(over) Absolutely sure about that?

ED MILIBAND:

(over) Yes, I am.

ANDREW MARR:

(over) No question that he's going to stand down?

ED MILIBAND:

No, he's not going to stand aside. And I'll tell you why. Because I think the economic part of this is very important and I do think we've got to make an argument … Gordon's going to be saying this at the TUC. I saw George Osborne on your programme last week. He was saying we should be cutting public spending now. That would be a tragedy for Britain if we did that because just as a recovery …

ANDREW MARR:

Well hold on a second.

ED MILIBAND:

… just as a recovery … Let me finish this point. Just as a recovery is starting to get going, according to some commentators - I'm not saying that, but some commentators are - that would be absolutely the wrong time to turn off the taps in terms of public spending. Anyone knows that. Now that's a big choice at the next General Election and Gordon is the best person, I think, to put forward that choice.

ANDREW MARR:

And do you think the recovery has started yourself?

ED MILIBAND:

No, I'm not getting into that business of forecasting. That's for the Treasury and the Chancellor and others, and I think people watching this programme, facing difficult circumstances, would not want me to be saying. But what I am saying is we need to make sure we have recovery and we need to sustain it.

ANDREW MARR:

Yes.

ED MILIBAND:

And what the Tories are saying, which is let's cut public spending now and next year, would be completely the wrong thing.

ANDREW MARR:

John Cruddas, who's a big figure in your party …

ED MILIBAND:

Sure.

ANDREW MARR:

… a man of the Left, on the Left side of the party, like apparently yourself - said that one of the problems is that people don't really know what Labour stands for anymore, they don't know what the party is for. And you hear that all over the place. What does the Labour Party stand for now?

ED MILIBAND:

I think it stands for something very simple when you look forward, which his how we create a fairer Britain, a more prosperous Britain, and a more democratic Britain. And indeed, in my view, a greener Britain. And I think politics in the next five years is going to be defined by the response to three crises that we've seen. The economic crisis and do we learn the lessons of that and diversify our industrial base, have more green manufacturing and industries not just in the city, do we reform our democratic institutions and who's going to do that, and how do we respond to the climate crisis and how do we manage it in a fair way? And our manifesto, Andrew, would be all about that. And let me just say …

ANDREW MARR:

(over) Now you're out here saying all that kind of stuff, you're out here fighting …

ED MILIBAND:

Yeah, yeah.

ANDREW MARR:

… but you can't honestly say to me that the fight is being taken to the TV studios and so on by the rest of your colleagues. From the outside, a lot of the time this looks like a government which is just cabinet which has run out of fight, which has sort of given up.

ED MILIBAND:

Well I don't agree with that and you know we've all got to do a better job of fighting because there are big issues to fight for. When you look at the economic crisis …

ANDREW MARR:

So what has to change between now and the election, only a few months away, because you're so far down in the opinion polls? Everybody out there thinks you're all gonners, you're going to go down in a very, very big smash.

ED MILIBAND:

Well I don't agree with that. I think fundamentally it's about this. It's about the fact that an election is a choice, it's not a referendum. And the truth is that we do need to get into those questions of choices. Just take one issue, which is inheritance tax. The Conservatives are saying there's no money around, the deficit's a real problem, and they're saying the right thing to do is to spend a billion pounds on the 3,000 richest estates in Britain. Now that's the wrong choice, I think, for Britain …

ANDREW MARR:

(over) So you're going to take up those arguments.

ED MILIBAND:

… and we're going to take those arguments …

ANDREW MARR:

(over) If …

ED MILIBAND:

… to the Conservatives and to the country.

ANDREW MARR:

… if the opportunity was there … I'm not saying you'd go against Gordon Brown. If the opportunity was there openly, would you accept …?

ED MILIBAND:

(over) No.

ANDREW MARR:

… nomination for leadership of the Labour Party?

ED MILIBAND:

No, no. I've just … Look, I've been in parliament four years. I'm doing my job as the Climate and Energy Secretary and trying to support the government and supporting the right leader …

ANDREW MARR:

Alright, okay.

ED MILIBAND:

… for the Labour Party and the right leader for Britain.

ANDREW MARR:

Alright. Ed Miliband, for now thank you very much indeed.

INTERVIEW ENDS


Please note "The Andrew Marr Show" must be credited if any part of this transcript is used.


NB: This transcript was typed from a recording and not copied from an original script.

Because of the possibility of mis-hearing and the difficulty, in some cases, of identifying individual speakers, the BBC cannot vouch for its accuracy


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