George Osborne: Of course Miliband is a backstabber

Posted On: 
12th April 2015

George Osborne has defended personal Conservative attacks on Ed Miliband, after the Defence Secretary said the Labour leader intended to “stab the United Kingdom in the back” over Trident.

George Osborne on the Andrew Marr Show, 12/04/15

Michael Fallon’s comments last week provoked criticism as he also accused Mr Miliband of having “stabbed his brother in the back” over the Labour leadership contest in 2010.

He linked it to the issue of whether Labour could be trusted to keep the UK’s nuclear deterrent, despite Labour pledging to retain a continuous at-sea nuclear force.

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Mr Osborne insisted it was fair to point to the character of a prime ministerial candidate.

Asked whether the “backstabbing” analogies were fair for Mr Miliband choosing to stand for the leadership of Labour, the Chancellor told the Andrew Marr Show: “Of course it’s backstabbing.”

Harriet Harman, Labour’s deputy leader, argued that such messages were putting people off voting.

“That negative campaigning, obviously they hope it’s going to work but that actually undermines our democracy,” she told the same programme.

Ms Harman claimed that Labour attacks on the Conservative leadership as being “posh” were different, but Mr Osborne said it was a “bit thin” for Ms Harman to play the class card, given the two of them went to the same school.