THERE was praise for Labour leader Ed Miliband's conference speech from former Labour leader Neil Kinnock. The former Islwyn MP said: "It was brilliant in all respects... What he's doing is manifesting the strengths that made me want him to be leader and be one of the first to propose him.

"All the time his courage, his determination, his patriotism and his empathy, his ability to relate to people is coming through and it's all genuine.’’ Working without a script appeared to cause Mr Miliband to make one slip in his speech, when he included "competition’’ among the principles that should underpin the NHS.

It came as he was roundly condemning the coalition for increasing exactly that in their controversial reforms of the health service, which he pledged to repeal.

"The National Health Service is based on a whole different set of values that the British people love: not values of markets, money and exchange, but values of competition, care and co-operation,’’ he said.

Shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna said the speech was "quintessentially Ed’’.

Mr Umunna told BBC News: "This was what he was about, what he is about, and he was explaining what his values are and why we advocate what we do.’’ He denied Mr Miliband failed to outline any hard policies of what Labour would do in government, claiming the address was "rich in policy’’.

But Education Secretary Michael Gove seized on the speech as proof that Mr Miliband realised "the coalition is getting it right on vocational education and the last Labour government got it wrong’’.

Mr Gove said: "Ed Miliband wants a government which is getting every child to reach a good standard in maths and English by the age of 18, giving every child the chance to enjoy high quality work experience, making vocational qualifications more rigorous and giving business a bigger role providing apprenticeships.