Ed Miliband urged to apply the ‘Doncaster North’ test on decisions

MP Ed Miliband
MP Ed Miliband

Labour leader Ed Miliband has been urged to apply the ‘Doncaster North’ test when thinking about his party’s policies.

It comes after one of his MPs has resigned from his shadow cabinet after her tweet of a house draped with England flags caused controversy on the day of the Rochester and Strood by-election, which has been won by UKIP.

Islington South and Finsbury MP Emily Thornberry was accused of snobbery after posting the picture of the modern terraced house with three red and white Cross of St George flags - one bearing a West Ham United badge - and a white van parked in the drive, along with the message “Image from Rochester”.

She apologised after being given a dressing-down by Mr Miliband and Labour later announced that she had resigned as shadow attorney general.

But Labour backbencher John Mann, who represents Bassetlaw, said the tweet was “embarrassing” for Mr Miliband and the party, but he insisted the leader’s swift action was a “big moment”.

On Ms Thornberry’s tweet, Mr Mann told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “It was horrendous. It insults people like me, it insults the people I know - my friends and family - Labour voters across the country because white vans, England flags, they’re Labour values and actually pretty routine Labour values for most of us.”

“I do think it’s quite a big moment not because of what she’s done, which would have disappeared fairly quickly, but the fact Ed Miliband has responded so quickly.

“I think this is a different approach from the Labour leader and his message came out very, very clearly last night and she’s had to go, she’s been forced out.

“I think he’s applying what I hoped he would apply all the way through which is what I call the Doncaster North test, which is one of the tests he needs to apply and that is ‘if we’ve got a policy, if we’re saying something, how will it fit with the voters in my own constituency in Doncaster’, and they would not have been happy with what Emily Thornberry did.”