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 Mr 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 artcile 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. Continually reciting a mantra of misery is not the answer. We have to start speaking the language of aspiration.
"Britain needs a Government with a convincing mandate to introduce the big changes that are required. But Labour can't achieve that with the core vote and a few disgruntled Liberals. That's a suicidal strategy."
His concerns were echoed by Tristan Osborne, a the parliamentary candidate for Chatham and Aylesford, one of the party's key target seats, who was recorded making critical remarks at a Labour fund-raising event.
In comments reported by The Mail on Sunday and The Sunday Times, he was quoted as complaining of a "dodgy campaign" with "no coherent messaging", adding " The machine is not functioning in any capacity".
He was said to have warned that Mr Miliband would "never form a credible government" unless he did more to win over "the aspirational southern voter".
"The economy is picking up. That reinforces the narrative that they (the Conservatives) are doing well, and there's absolutely sod all anyone can do about that," he was quoted as saying.