Kinnock takes aim at Labour's No campaigners


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The Independent Online

The former Labour leader Neil Kinnock, pictured, today launches an outspoken attack on senior colleagues in his party who have campaigned with the Conservatives against reforming Britain's voting system.

Mr Kinnock told i he "simply cannot understand" how John Reid, Margaret Beckett, John Prescott and David Blunkett could back the Conservatives in support of a system which kept Labour out of power for decades.

And he warned that unless Labour voters ignored them in Thursday's referendum it would be far harder for the party to regain power again.

"I simply cannot understand how experienced colleagues can mistake the lessons of the last 60 years: that the Tories have profited massively from divisions in the continual anti-Tory majority," he said.

"They must recognise the implacable truth – that first past the post is the Tories' lifeline."

Mr Kinnock is the first senior Labour figure to openly attack those in the party who have sided with the Tories on AV. He is known to be particularly incensed that Mr Reid – who used to work in his private office – shared a platform with David Cameron as part of the No campaign.

"They haven't been able to explain why they're doing it to me – they just give me knowing smiles and say first past the post helps us. Well first past the post almost permanently put the Tories in power for the last 40 years."

A former Labour minister said: "Reid, Prescott and Blunkett are just dinosaurs looking for one last moment in the limelight. But in the process they are doing irreparable harm to the cause of progressive politics."