Ed brings town to a standstill

Bewildered shoppers found themselves at the centre of a political rally when the leader of the Labour Party made an impromptu visit to the town.

Ed Miliband was in Chorley to launch Labour’s new commission on health and social care at Buckshaw Retirement Village.

He coupled it with a visit to the town centre and got on his ‘soapbox’ for an old-fashioned public meeting outside the market.

He was accompanied by a delegation of Labour ministers, including Andy Burnham, the shadow minister for health, and Liz Kendall, shadow minister for older people.

He was also followed by the national media, with on-lookers being just as excited to see Nick Robinson, the BBC’s political Editor.

Addressing the crowd, which had congregated after Mr Milliband had stopped to talk to passers-by in Market Walk, he said: “We have got to do politics differently.

“David Cameron and I shouting at each other in Westminster is all well and good, but there has to be a better way, and that is why I am here today. We have had 150,000 conversations with members of the public in Lancashire to write our pledge for the up-coming elections.”

“We need jobs for our local people in Chorley.

He added: “We need dignity for our elderly.

“We know that the population is ageing and we want to bring together our health care and social care and we believe it can make a huge difference.

“We also need cheaper fuel bills for Lancashire, to protect public transport and ensure a living wage.

“These are five really important pledges that reflect the bigger story of what

we are doing right across the country.”

Mr Miliband was then quizzed on everything from the bedroom tax to tuition fees and education.

His visit comes ahead of the elections on May 2, when Labour will be hoping to regain power at County Hall from the Conservatives, who currently hold 51 of the 84 seats.

When asked about Labour’s chances in Lancashire, he said: “I’m not in the business of forecasting,

I’m in the business of making a difference.”