The Local Government Chronicle has the story:
Labour leadership contender David Miliband has admitted that his party took councillors for granted and ignored local government while in power. Ahead of a leadership hustings debate at the Local Government Association conference this week, Mr Miliband even pledged to invite Labour’s local government leader, at present David Sparks, into the shadow cabinet if he is elected party leader.
In a letter to Labour councillors he said: “In the past you have been taken for granted; that is not my approach.“I started this leadership campaign talking about the need to rebuild our party from top to bottom.”
Mr Miliband, who was local government minister in 2005-06, said the sector “did not have the prominence it should have had during our time in office [as] neither Tony nor Gordon took strengthening local government seriously enough… We devolved to Scotland and Wales but stopped there. Now is the time to look again at devolving to towns and cities across the country.”
Communities and Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles has responded thus:
"I am glad David Miliband has finally come clean. There was a steady erosion of local democracy under the last Labour government with ministers routinely riding roughshod over the voice of communities. The coalition government is committed to making localism a reality, by putting people back in charge of their lives; putting businesses and councils back in charge of economic growth and putting town halls back in charge of local affairs."