Ed Miliband: ‘My Doncaster priorities are jobs and education’’

Ed Miliband interview    Ed Miliband, Sarah Marshall
Ed Miliband interview Ed Miliband, Sarah Marshall

In his first exclusive interview since standing down as Labour leader, Ed Miliband says his constituency priorities for the next five years are jobs and education.

While Mr Miliband may have lost some of the power he held for over five years as leader of the opposition, the Doncaster North MP says he has built up ‘many links’ nationally that can still use to benefit the borough.

As he plans for the next five years, Mr Miliband says he wants to focus on Doncaster’s young people, and to help them realise their aspirations by bringing more jobs to the town.

He told the Free Press: “The priority is fighting for decent paying jobs for the area.

Mr Miliband continued: “While they are low paid jobs out there in Doncaster, it’s about quality too, so I’ve been working very closely with Ros Jones, Rosie Winterton and Caroline Flint to try and bring a better standard of jobs to Doncaster.”

Following the announcement that Doncaster’s last remaining pit, Hatfield Colliery, would be closing due to the Government refusing to extend an existing loan arrangement, Mr Miliband criticised the decision.

He cites the closure of Hatfield Colliery, and with it the immediate loss of 400 jobs, as one of the reasons that ensuring there are more employment opportunities in Doncaster is so ‘important’.

“With Hatfield, it’s not just that people are losing their jobs, it’s the history of mining and what it means to Doncaster,” commented Mr Miliband.

He added: “It’s also about what other jobs are they going to be able to go into?”

Outlining his plans for education in Doncaster North, Mr Miliband said: “I want to show young people about what’s possible and opening up those opportunities, but then making sure those opportunities are here in Doncaster.”

When asked about what he could do to improve standards of education in Doncaster, after the borough’s schools were ranked second worst in the country by Ofsted last year, he said: “I think it’s about working with head teachers.

“You can’t, as a local MP, have too much control over what goes on in schools, but I am willing to work with Ros and whoever else I can to help improve standards of education.”

Mr Miliband, who stood down after the disappointing general election result in May, said he would now be able to spend more time in the constituency.

He said: “It’s important for me to be seen around more but also speaking out for Doncaster, in Parliament like I did on Hatfield.

“Sometimes it’s going to be more behind-the-scenes work, through networks that I’ve been able to build up.”