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Ed Miliband confronts his image issues at launch of labour's summer campaign

ED Miliband has confronted his image problem head-on, insisting his politics of substance would win over David Cameron's politics of style.

LOOKs: Labour leader Ed Miliband claims focus on image is fuelling the public's cynicism about politics.
LOOKs: Labour leader Ed Miliband claims focus on image is fuelling the public's cynicism about politics.

The Labour leader has come in for some criticism because of his geeky image with people likening him to the cartoon character Wallace, of Wallace and Gromit fame. He was recently ridiculed after less than flattering images showed him trying to eat a bacon sandwich.

In June his personal ratings fell to the lowest ever recorded in an ICM poll. While the Prime Minister's ratings were also down, he remains well ahead of his two main rivals, particularly when voters are asked about who looks the most prime ministerial.

The expectation is that Conservative HQ, aided by the Tory Press, will, in the run-up to the General Election, focus heavily on Mr Miliband as a person and what they regard as his weakness as a leader.

But in a speech in London to launch his party's summer campaigning, he warned the focus on image was fuelling public cynicism with politicians.

"I am not from central casting," declared the Labour leader. "You can find people who are more square-jawed, more chiselled, look less like Wallace. You could find people who look better eating a bacon sandwich.

"If you want the politician from central casting, it's just not me."

He stressed that if people wanted a politician who believed taking a good picture was the most important thing, then he urged them not to vote for him.

"I believe people would quite like somebody to stand up and say there is more to politics than the photo-op."

While the Labour leader said his Tory counterpart was very good at image politics, it often belied the reality.

"If principle simply becomes replaced by expediency, then all it does is add further to cynicism; the sense that politics is just a game."

In response, Grant Shapps, the Conservative Party Chairman, accused Mr Miliband of only talking about himself.

"If he wants to be taken seriously, he should be talking about the economy and how we can secure a better future for our children and grandchildren; not why he struggles to eat a bacon sandwich," he said.

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