Ed Miliband is facing fresh criticism from within the Labour ranks over his "suicidal" campaign tactics as the party heads into crucial European and local council elections.
With one poll last week showing the Tories ahead of Labour for the first time in two years, a series of party figures warned that Mr Miliband's cautious tactics would not deliver victory in next year's general election.
One prominent backbencher Simon Danczuk, the MP for Rochdale, said they had to stop relying on the unpopularity of the Government and come forward with a positive vision of their own.
In a scathing article for The Mail on Sunday, he said it was "daft" to dismiss voters who were to turning to Ukip as "disaffected loons" and that winning back support was more than a matter of "setting off a few fireworks or coming up with some catchy slogans".
"We've become too comfortable with talking to ourselves, with policy announced through set-piece speeches as though in a university lecture. Some in the party view politics as an intellectual pursuit; it's not, it's a monumental struggle to win hearts and minds," he said.
"We won't win a general election by campaigning excessively on food banks and the bedroom tax. Labour has to offer a route out of poverty and unfulfilled potential."