The Labour leader Ed Miliband has put himself in "a terribly invidious position" over today's anti-cuts march in London, according to the Education Secretary Michael Gove.
Mr Gove told Today presenter Evan Davis that there were "really big dangers" for Mr Miliband, who is due to address a rally following the TUC-organised March for the Alternative this afternoon.
"One is that people will say 'You are calling for a plan B from the government, you don't even have a plan A. More than that, you are associating yourself with a march which could, I'm afraid, move from being family event into being something darker."'
He added that the government would not be swayed from its course by the march, which is expected to be attended by tens of thousands of protesters from around the country. But he added: "I sympathise with those in the NHS and the education system who have "to make do... with fewer resources than they would like."
Len McCluskey, secretary-general of the Unite union, called on the government to "concentrate on economic growth through tax fairness" and should introduce a "Robin Hood" tax to raise money for investment.
"I'm not a deficit denier," he insisted, "but I'm not going to be drawn into a cuts debate".
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