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LABOUR'S TROUBLES COULD SWAY LOCAL ELECTIONS, MILIBAND ADMITS

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Local government and communities minister David Miliband said this morning he hoped people vote on 'real world' iss...
Local government and communities minister David Miliband said this morning he hoped people vote on 'real world' issues next week, rather than pass judgment on the government's recent difficulties.

BBC Radio Four's Today programme reported from Barnsley, where Labour has a three seat majority on the council.

Leader Steve Houghton told the programme he feared the government's troubles nationally could hit the party in next week's elections. 'There's always a protest vote in local elections against the government of the day. Recent events nationally are not helping,' he said.

Mr Miliband acknowledged this was a problem. 'We're testing to destruction the idea that people vote on what goes on in the real world rather than what goes on in the Westminster world,' he told Today.

'I'd much prefer the people voting in Barnsley next Thursday to look around them, see the changes that are going on in Barnsley, the economic, social and public service improvements, and vote on those real world changes. Because obviously the Westminster world had not been the best place to be for the government over the past week.'

Mr Miliband said Labour has to translate local improvements into political support. 'People do see change in their own communities, they see a growing economy, they do see public services improving, they do see more police on the beat. What they don't believe at the moment is it's happening around the country.'

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