November 6, 2014 / 4:43 PM / 4 years ago

Miliband dismisses reports of bid to oust him

LONDON (Reuters) - Ed Miliband, the leader of Britain’s center-left opposition Labour party, on Thursday described media reports that members of his own party were conspiring to oust him as “nonsense”, as he sought to keep his bid to become prime minister on track.

Ed Miliband, leader of Britain's opposition Labour Party, speaks at the party's conference in Manchester, September 24, 2014. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett

Labour have a narrow lead over Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservatives in opinion polls ahead of a national election in May 2015. But Miliband’s personal rating has sunk to its lowest ever level, raising doubts among supporters that he is capable of delivering an outright win.

Newspaper reports said unnamed members of Miliband’s team feared that MPs in his own party were circulating a letter calling for him to resign for the good of the party. The BBC reported two MPs had signed such a letter.

“Honestly this is nonsense,” Miliband told BBC TV. “I don’t accept that this matter arises, what I believe the party wants to focus on is the country.”

In September, his party conference rallying cry left many activists underwhelmed, and an admission that he forgot paragraphs in his speech covering the key electoral issues of immigration and the budget deficit have been used by opponents to criticize his leadership credentials.

The New Statesman, a left-leaning publication that backed his 2010 bid to lead the party, on Wednesday published a highly critical article about Miliband, saying he had failed to understand lower-middle class voters.

Reporting by William James and Kylie MacLellan; Editing by Andrew Osborn

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