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Page last updated at 08:24 GMT, Wednesday, 28 September 2011 09:24 UK

Miliband: I'm not anti-business


The Labour leader, Ed Miliband, has denied that his speech to the party conference yesterday was anti-business.

Interviewed by Today presenter James Naughtie he said he was opposed to "business as usual" at a time of economic crisis, and that his critics were nervous of change.

And Mr Miliband said it was time for governments to take more responsibility and exert some control over the free market economy.

"We live in a market economy, but government sets the rules... it encourages research and development for example. So it encourages companies to offer apprenticeships, so it tries to drive out and tackle some of the vested interests in our society like the energy companies. Or does it say, as we have for too long - let's be honest about this, governments of both parties - there's nothing that can be done, there's nothing that can change?

"Yes, we've got a view about the way the benefits system works, yes we've got a view about those rules, but somehow free markets land from outer space and the rules if you like can't influence it, and that's wrong and I don't agree with that."

Mr Miliband downplayed criticism of his style after it was put to him that the word most commonly used in focus groups to describe him was "weird".

"Other people make their own judgments," he replied. "I think I'm a pretty normal guy. It's in the eye of the beholder.

"I don't give a damn about that. The times are too serious, the issues are too grave, for us to say it is not about substance.

"It is about substance. It is absolutely about substance. The problems our country faces are so serious that substance matters, and I have got an old-fashioned view - substance wins out."

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