Britain's Labor leader confirms he forgot vital parts of pre-election speech

Reuters News
Posted: Sep 24, 2014 4:50 AM

MANCHESTER England (Reuters) - British opposition Labor party leader Ed Miliband confirmed on Wednesday he had forgotten vital parts of a pre-election speech the previous day, his last address to his party's annual conference before a national election in May.

During the speech, Miliband cast himself as Britain's prime minister-in-waiting, pledging to wring money from wealthy home owners, hedge funds and tobacco companies to fund better health care.

But Prime Minister David Cameron's Conservatives pointed out that Miliband had not mentioned how he would tackle the country's sizeable budget deficit or address public concerns about immigration - two of the biggest pre-election issues.

The original version of his speech showed he had intended to touch on both questions.

On Wednesday, Miliband confirmed he had simply forgotten to mention either theme, blaming the fact that he had delivered the speech without notes.

"Some of it got left out," Miliband told BBC TV. "I didn't do one part of the speech, I added in other bits. It's one of the perils of doing it (from memory)."

Political opponents have suggested he forgot to mention the issues because they are not priorities for him.

However, Miliband, whose party is battling to persuade voters it can be trusted to run the economy, said cutting the deficit was "incredibly high" on his list of priorities.

(Reporting by Andrew Osborn and Michael Holden; Editing by Guy Faulconbridge)