Ed Miliband
Ed Miliband delivers his speech at the Labour Party Conference in ManchesterReuters

Ed Miliband has delivered his final party conference speech before the election with a simple pitch that only a decade of Labour can heal a Britain left divided by the Tories and restore faith in politics.

In the most important set-piece speech of his four-year leadership, he attempted to draw some clear lines between the Tories and a future Labour government, with a heavy emphasis on standing up for the ordinary working people the coalition had let down.

Labour, he repeated time and again, stood "together" with working people while the Tories told them they were "on their own".

The overriding theme was about restoring voters' faith in the future but also in politicians. And he attempted to match the Tories' claim to having a "long-term economic plan" with his own "long-term plan for Britain" that, he said, required a decade to complete.

He promised to invest an extra £2.5bn into the NHS, paid for by slapping a mansion tax on properties over £2m, hitting tax-avoiding hedge funds and a levy on tobacco companies.

That would see the creation of 20,000 more nurses, 8,000 more GPs and 3,000 more midwives.

He promised to answer the "English votes for English laws" problem by creating a constitutional convention to draw up new proposals that would reform the House of Lords and devolve power to the regions and big cities.

Attempting to answer the prime minister's political trap over constitutional reform, he insisted: "This cannot be a Westminter stitch-up. There has to be a proper constitutional convention."

And, in a stinging rebuttal of David Cameron's move, he said: "He [Cameron] does not lie in bed at night thinking about the United Kingdom. He is thinking about the United Kingdom Independence Party. Pandering to them is one more reason why he is not fit to be prime minister."

He went on to promise to allow 16 and 17-year-olds to vote, create new garden cities, develop thousands of new homes, offer help for first-time buyers, create more apprenticeships and increase the minimum wage to £8 an hour.

But the NHS was at the core of his speech, largely because it presents the perfect example of what he sees as the divisions between a Labour party on the side of ordinary working people and the Tories who always "stand up for the wrong people".

"We are going to transfer the NHS for the future. That is what the next Labour government will do and we will do it together," he said.

Ed Miliband
Ed Miliband has promised to increase the minimum wage to £8 per hourReuters

His lengthy speech, delivered from notes, included numerous anecdotes about voters he had met and thir experiences of living in a Tory Britain where they were "on their own".

"So many people have lost faith in the future. I've met young people who should have the brightest of futures telling me their generation is falling into a black hole," he said.

"People in England who think all politics is rubbish, people in Scotland who wanted to leave our country because they felt they had nothing left to lose.

"We are ready. Labour's plan for Britain's future - let's make it happen together."

But with the conference struggling to convince itself the party is on the verge of power, Miliband failed to deliver the sort of powerful, passionate performance or the headline-grabbing pledges that have marked his previous conference speeches.

Unite leader Len McCluskey, who had been looking for some radicalism and passion from Miliband, summed up the widespread reaction to the performance. Asked by IBTimes UK what he thought of the speech, he replied with a dismissive "it was OK".

One of the problems was the big announcement on the NHS had been leaked before the speech, leaving a large policy hole at the centre of it.

Another delegate said: "It was a greatest hits of his last four conference speeches, all of which were better than this."

And there was some genuine dismay that Miliband had produced more passionate, engaging and policy heavy speeches at previous conferences and this year's attempt to fill in some policy detail had meant a speech lacking in the engagement and passion he has previously displayed.