A Labour MP has urged Ed Miliband to surround himself with "real people" in his shadow cabinet to improve the party's policies.

Rochdale MP Simon Danczuk proposed a "more collegiate" form of politics, telling the Guardian: "Whatever people might think about Tony Blair, he had Alan Milburn, Mo Mowlam, Hazel Blears, John Prescott, David Blunkett, in among some intellectuals,.

"That makes better policy. If you just have a load of ex-special advisers forming policies you're not going to have very good policies, are you?"

Danczuk, who exposed the child abuse committed by former Liberal Democrat MP Cyril Smith, said Labour needed "four or five" strong messages on welfare and immigration and to "celebrate work" over benefits.

"Why do we have a 35% strategy? It comes from the leadership," he added.

"They set the tone, the direction of travel and the targets and all the rest of it. So you can have a Hampstead Heath view of the world and become prime minister and retain Hampstead Heath politics on 35% of the vote.

"But if you want 40-45% of the vote you will not get it based on Hampstead Heath politics."

The comments come after Danczuk was spotted having a pint with Ukip leader Nigel Farage.

The Sun snap drummed up speculation that Danczuk was planning to jump ship to the Eurosceptic party.

But the Rochdale MP played down the meeting and said Farage was "probably the most successful politician of 2014".

"He has had a good year in the European elections, the local elections, overtaking the Liberal Democrats in the opinion polls," Danczuk said.

"Whether you like it or not they are the third party in British politics.

"Some people in the mainstream parties needed to wake up to this some time ago.

"The reality is it's four-party politics."