You’ve seen him on TV, heard him on radio – now Metro meets Ed Miliband in the flesh. Just don’t mention the two kitchens…
1) What is your perfect day off?
Spending time with my wife Justine and sons Daniel and Sam. It doesn’t happen very often at the moment but we all went to an Easter Egg hunt that we put on in my constituency on Sunday. So that was fun.
2) Are you a chocoholic?
I try not to be. I think my children definitely are, however; they very much enjoyed the Easter Egg hunt.
3) Do you do DIY?
I have to say I’m not a great DIY person but my father-in-law is good at it. When there’s DIY to be done he will often come and help out.
4) Do you watch any political dramas?
Watching them is too much of a busman’s holiday. The Thick Of It was too much like reality, with the greatest of respect to my team… I don’t mean that.
5) What was the last thing that really made you laugh?
The film Pride, which made me laugh and cry at the same time. It’s about this lesbian and gay community in London who go off to help the miners.
6) Who is your favourite Labour prime minister of all time?
There are so many. I think Clement Attlee was brilliant and the 1945 government was a great government. I’m very proud of what New Labour did in 13 years, so there is lots to choose from.
7) What made you want to be a politician in the first place?
I wanted to tackle the injustices our country faces. I was brought up in quite a political family and I was taught you shouldn’t just get angry at things that are wrong with the world but you should do something about it. What is exciting to me about this campaign is the chance to show people we can change the country.
8) Have the questions about your brother David become too intrusive?
Pretty much anything goes when it comes to politics, it comes with the territory. But I think the public are more interested in the choice between me and David Cameron, rather than me and my brother.
9) What was it that made you think you couldn’t support your brother?
I think we needed to move on from New Labour and I thought I was the best person to do that – whether it’s on Iraq, or immigration, or inequality and who the country works for.
10) You’ve said that Labour made mistakes on immigration. What were those mistakes?
We completely underestimated the numbers of people that were going to come in. And the pace of change was very fast, which has caused real issues. I think it’s really important we don’t dismiss people’s concerns as prejudice because they’re based on real worries. That’s why I’ve changed our approach. Under Labour, new arrivals will have to wait at least two years for their benefits and we’re going to stop the undercutting of wages.
11) Do we use too many medical professionals from abroad?
It’s important to train up doctors and nurses here. Part of our plan is a Time To Care fund for recruiting and training 20,000 more nurses and 8,000 more doctors. Foreign doctors and nurses play an incredible role in our health service, but let’s also give opportunities to people here.
12) You’ve said you’ll axe non-dom tax status but Ed Balls said in January it would be a mistake. How has the policy changed so quickly?
What Ed said is that we’ve got to take tough action against the non-doms and that’s what we’re going to do. The big picture here is that the Conservatives are throwing up a smokescreen about the truth – that they want to keep the non-dom loophole in place.
13) When does a zero-hours contract become unfair?
What we say is after 12 weeks everyone will be entitled to a regular contract, not just a zero-hours contract. Twelve weeks gives the opportunity to establish how many hours somebody is working and they’ll get a contract based on that number of hours.
14) What do you propose to help get young people on the housing ladder?
We’re committed to building 200,000 homes a year by 2020 and we’re going to do that through a combination of things. For instance, we will stop large developers sitting on land and waiting for it to rise in value.
15) Foreign issues haven’t appeared in the campaign so far. Is it because they are such an intractable problem?
I’m keen that foreign issues do feature. Apart from anything else we are worried about people going to Syria to fight, and then coming back. We’ve got to deal with those people in the strongest terms.
16) With NHS and education ring-fenced, are all your cuts coming from police and welfare?
We believe that by getting rid of police and crime commissioners and making savings in relation to procurement, we can protect neighbourhood policing. We are going to have to make cuts but it will be a balanced plan and we’re going to protect key areas.
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