APOLOGISING to his party, Labour leader Miliband resigned yesterday mid-day following his party’s wipe-out in Scotland compounded by losses in England.
He told supporters: ‘Earlier today I rang David Cameron to congratulate him. I take absolute and total responsibility for the result and our defeat at this election.
‘I am so sorry for all of those colleagues who lost their seats. Ed Balls, Jim Murphy, Margaret Curran, Douglas Alexander, and all the MPs and indeed candidates who were defeated.’
He added: ‘Now it’s time for someone else to take forward the leadership of this party, so I’m tendering my resignation taking part after this afternoon’s commemoration of VE Day at the Cenotaph. I want to do so straight away because the party needs to have an open and honest debate about the right way forward without constraint.’
After announcing that Deputy Leader Harriet Harman will take over until a new leader is elected, he said: ‘I want to address those who voted Labour yesterday.
‘Today you’ll feel disappointed, even bleak, but while we may have lost the election, the argument of our campaign will not go away: the issue of our unequal country will not go away, this is the challenge of our time, the fight goes on, and whoever is our new leader, I know Labour will keep making the case for a country that works for working people once again. . .’
Miliband urged: ‘If I may, I say to everyone in our party: conduct this leadership election with the same decency, civility, and comradeship that we believe is the way the country should be run.’
Harriet Harman joined the resignation scheme stressing she was ‘stepping forward to be acting leader until a new leader is elected by the party. It is not my intention to stay on as deputy leader of the Labour Party when the new leader is elected.
‘Therefore, I am announcing that I am stepping down as deputy leader, with my resignation taking effect when the new leader and deputy leader are elected.’
Another casualty, Shadow Chancellor Balls lost his Morley and Outwood seat to Tory candidate Andrea Jenkyns by 422 votes. He said: ‘Any personal disappointment I have at this result is as nothing compared to the sense of sorrow I have at the result Labour has achieved across the UK, and the sense of concern I have about the future.’ Balls said questions would arise about the future of the UK and its position in Europe over the next five years.
LibDem leader Clegg also resigned, saying he had ‘always expected this election to be exceptionally difficult for the Liberal Democrats’ but the ‘results have been immeasurably more crushing and unkind than I could ever have feared’.