The Labour party hierarchy have gone on an offensive to recover from the political damage caused by a tweeted image during the Rochester and Strood by election.
The tweet, which showed a house draped in England flags and a white van parked in the drive way, caused an outcry after UKIP stormed to victory, winning their second seat in the Commons.
Ed Miliband was widely reportedly to be ‘embarrassed’ and ‘furious’ at the posting of the picture by MP Emily Thornbury, which led to claims of ‘snobbery’ and of party being ‘out of touch’ with ordinary people.
The Labour leader told the Daily Mirror that Labour was still the party for working class people and insisted the former cabinet minister had to go after the ‘disrespect’ she had shown the voters.
Mr Miliband said: “What Labour has to do now is learn the wider lessons. We know we’ve got a challenge in relation to UKIP,” he continued. “But it’s a challenge I’m determined to meet. I am not going to let UKIP get away with the claim they will stand up for working people.”
Labour’s Naushabah Khan finished in third place in Rochester with 6,713 votes in the by-election and many critics have claimed the resignation of the former Shadow Attorney General was a smokescreen against the failure of Ed Miliband to connect with the core workinclass vote.
Ed Balls backed his leader’s comments and agreed Emily Thornbury had made a mistake. The Shadow Chancellor told the BBC if he saw a white van on the street he would think it belonged to a plumber.
The political storm caused by the tweet stole the front page headlines away from an astonishing victory for UKIP.
Mark Reckless was re-elected back into his seat but this time as UKIP’s second MP with majority of almost 3000 votes.
The Kent constituency was 271st on the list of target seats for UKIP, according to a beaming Nigel Farage.
Mark Reckless was the second successive defection from Conservatives to UKIP.
David Cameron hit back by claiming the election was closer than polls had predicted and vowed to win back the seat in general election next year
Meanwhile, it was another miserable night for the Liberal Democrats who were plunged into fifth position behind the Green Party with paltry 349 votes, which represented less than one per cent of the total vote.