Ed Miliband wouldn’t have wanted to spend his big, pre-conference interview talking about English votes for English law but that’s what he had to do on Marr this morning. Miliband was prepared to concede more English scrutiny for English legislation. But it is clear he won’t back English votes for English laws. He even argued that it was hard to describe tuition fees, which don’t apply in Scotland, as an issue just for the rest of the UK.
Miliband was much happier when the interview turned to the minimum wage and Labour’s plan to increase it to £8 by 2020. For Miliband this is a way to dramatise Labour’s commitment to making the economy work for those on low pay. But the Tories have already backed an above inflation rise in the minimum wage and if they go further, Labour’s policy on this could look less distinct.
Labour’s aim this week is to show voters how their lives would be different under a Miliband government. But Cameron dropping this constitutional bomb has, quite deliberately, made it far harder for Labour to get cut through on these messages. The challenge for Labour over the next few days, is to shift debate away from English votes for English laws and onto their territory of the NHS and cost of living.