LONDON New Labour leader Ed Miliband addressed his party on Tuesday for the first time since his narrow win.
Following are excerpts from Miliband's speech to the party's annual conference in Manchester.
What we should not do as a country is make a bad situation worse by embarking on deficit reduction at a pace and in a way that endangers our recovery.
The starting point for a responsible plan is to halve the deficit over 4 years, but growth is our priority and we must remain vigilant against a downturn.
No plan for growth means no credible plan for deficit reduction.
As we emerge from the global economic crisis, we face a choice: we can return to business as usual or we can challenge old thinking to build the new economy we need.
Let me say, I believe strongly that we need to reduce the deficit.
There will be cuts and there would have been if we had been in government.
Some of them will be painful and would have been if we were in government.
I won't oppose every cut the coalition proposes.
There will be some things the coalition does that we won't like as a party but we will have to support.
And come the next election there will be some things they have done that I will not be able to reverse.
I say this because the fiscal credibility we earned before 1997 was hard won and we must win it back by the time of the next general election.
Iraq was an issue that divided our party and our country. Many sincerely believed that the world faced a real threat. I criticise nobody faced with making the toughest of decisions and I honour our troops who fought and died there.
But I do believe that we were wrong. Wrong to take Britain to war and we need to be honest about that.
Wrong because that war was not a last resort, because we did not build sufficient alliances and because we undermined the United Nations.
America has drawn a line under Iraq and so must we.
I will work in a bi-partisan way with the government to both support our mission and ensure Afghanistan is not a war without end.
We need to win the public to our cause and what we must avoid at all costs is alienating them and adding to the book of historic union failures.
That is why I have no truck, and you should have no truck, with overblown rhetoric about waves of irresponsible strikes.
The public won't support them. I won't support them. And you shouldn't support them either.
I say the people who caused the crisis and can afford to do more should do more: with a higher bank levy allowing us to do more to protect the services and entitlements on which families depend.
We need a plan for change. A plan to reform the banks, invest in the industries of the future and support the small businesses and entrepreneurs who can be the lifeblood of our economy.
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