Liz Kendall calls for Labour to return to its roots so 'people have the power'

Liz Kendall

Labour needs to return to its roots and give power to the people, Liz Kendall has said, arguing that the party’s impulse has too often been “to regulate, to restrict, to fix, or ban”.

In a speech at a youth marketing agency in Brixton, south London, the party’s leadership candidate set out her vision for Labour’s future. She was surrounded by some of her most prominent supporters, including shadow cabinet members Chuka Umunna, Tristram Hunt, Emma Reynolds and Gloria De Piero.

“My argument today is that we need to go back to our roots as a party and ensure people have the power to shape their lives, the services they use, and the communities in which they live,” said Kendall.

“Our answer to many of the problems we face as a country was to regulate, to restrict, to fix, or ban. Too often, we spoke as if the challenges facing Britain could be solved by Westminster politicians and Whitehall lawyers alone.”

The MP for Leicester West quoted Labour’s 1945 manifesto – on the back of which it won a landslide victory – saying the party needed to be made up of “practical-minded men and women”.

“Buildings, laws and tax credits don’t create the conditions for a good life on their own. This comes when people have a sense of power and control over their lives,” she said, arguing that this was something the early Labour movement had understood.

Kendall is considered to be the more centrist of the four Labour leadership candidates and clashed with leftwinger Jeremy Corbyn in a BBC hustings on Sunday, saying she did not think the pair’s politics were “anything like the same”.

She has been attacked on social media, with claims she would be better suited to the Conservative party. One user set up the spoof campaign Facebook page Liz Kendall for Conservative Leader.

In her speech, Kendall said Labour should not feel nostalgic for the industrial Britain of the 1950s, though she admitted that it was a time when “many people had a sense of being part of something”.

She said: “Today, globalisation is creating huge opportunities – for our car manufacturers, our pharmaceutical, technology and creative industries, and for Britain’s world-leading scientists and universities. But this is leaving too many people behind.”

Kendall added it would be Labour’s challenge “to make sure every citizen can thrive when globalisation is causing such dramatic change, and leaving widening inequalities in its wake”.

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Frances Perraudin, for theguardian.com on Monday 20th July 2015 15.47 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010