Labour figures have disowned their party’s key policies with almost indecent haste since their general election drubbing. Here are the key manifesto pledges that have been dropped or finessed since 7 May:
Andy Burnham said the policy pioneered by Ed Miliband as party leader suggested to the public that Labour was into the “politics of envy”. “I think we have got to get away from things that look like symbolism. I am going to put the mansion tax in that category,” he told the Observer.
Liz Kendall suggested she was open to the idea of more free schools being established, telling a lunch with lobby journalists: “If someone wants to help run their school, they deserve credit, not criticism.” The scheme was to be closed down under a Labour government.
The interim Labour leader, Harriet Harman, has given her party’s backing for an in/out EU referendum, a poll it had previously been dead-set against. She was following hot on the heels of Burnham and Kendall in making the U-turn.
Labour had always pledged to make some cuts to the welfare budget but made hay of the Tory plan to slash £12bn. Now Burnham has suggested that this need not be a dividing line between the parties. Asked whether there should be welfare cuts between nothing and the £12bn a year pledged by the Tories, he said: “It should be somewhere in between.”
Kendall, a shadow health minister, told Evan Davis during a BBC2 Newsnight interview that there was real value in the private sector’s involvement in the health service. “I do believe it has a role in innovation which we need within the NHS,” she said. The tone of her message was different, if not the detail. Labour backed a limited role for the private sector going in to the general election.
Energy bill cap
Chris Leslie, number two to Ed Balls before the election, has this weekend said that the proposed freeze on energy bills was a mistake because it suggested Labour wanted to take over and control the markets.
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