Miliband in crisis again as left reveals frustration with Labour leader

Left-wing campaign groups have united to speak out against the Labour party's strategy of 'playing it safe' in the run-up to the next election, triggering another crisis period for Ed Miliband's leadership.

The leader of the opposition has been slammed for a lacklustre response to last week's Budget, which shadow chancellor Ed Balls could only criticise last week for being "underwhelming".

Now the chiefs of a number of Labour pressure groups, including the Fabian Society, Policy Network and Progress, have united to sign a letter calling on Miliband to be "bolder and more radical".

The letter, penned by Compass chairman Neal Lawson and published in the Guardian, warns: "If Labour plays the next election safe and hopes to win on the basis of Tory unpopularity, it will not have earned a mandate for such change."

Lawson has succeeded in uniting support from both the left- and right-wings of the Labour party, with 'Blue Labour' champion Maurice Glasman among the signatories.

It underlines the sense of disquiet within the Labour ranks that the response to the Budget has proved ineffective – with only the Conservative 'own goal' poster on bingo and beer duty rescuing the opposition.

Two polls yesterday revealed the Budget to have been a huge success for Osborne, with the Tories reducing the deficit to Labour to just one per cent.

A survey released at the end of last week found just 23% of voters now trust Miliband to run the economy.

Backbencher John Mann told BBC Radio 5 Live the party leader needed to offer a more "unambiguous" message, calling on him to be "bolder".

Miliband's response to George Osborne's Budget statement has even been mocked for being repetitive.

Comparisons with his past efforts have revealed several phrases were lifted from his previous Budget responses, prompting Labour to admit he has been "repetitive".