According to a recording obtained by the Financial Times, Ed Miliband told an audience of party donors at the Phoenix Palace restaurant in Central London that the party expects a “big fight” with hostile newspapers ahead of the next election. This follows Miliband calling for “proper standards of decency in our press” in my interview with him a few weeks ago at the height of the Mail row.
“We’ve got to be willing to call these people out. They are less powerful than people ever thought and they are less powerful now than they were.”
“It is incredibly important that we fight back against them (hostile newspapers). The only thing these people understand is people who are strong and will stand up to them and that is what we’re going to do.”
Expect this to be picked up by the newspapers in the coming days – it seems clear to me that what Miliband is talking about is fighting back against smears and attacks in the press, but the papers are likely to see this as linked to the ongoing debate about press regulation, as the privy council looks to make a financial decision in the coming weeks.
Either way, the Miliband/Mail row coincided with improved leadership poll ratings for Miliband, and certainly improved his standing in the party. He may not be entirely disappointed that this recording has surfaced and kickstarted the debate again…