Hain says Blair offends support
Friday 04 June 1999
In an extraordinary outburst by a serving member of the Government, Peter Hain, a Welsh Office minister, claimed that Labour had lost out in recent Welsh and Scottish elections because the party had ignored its traditional voters.
Mr Hain, who ran Labour's disastrous Welsh Assembly election campaign, also attacked "control freakery" by the party's Millbank officials and suggested that Ken Livingstone should be allowed to stand as Mayor of London.
But it was his outspoken assault on Mr Blair's strategy of wooing the middle classes that caused most amazement among MPs last night. In an interview in the New Statesman magazine, Mr Hain, MP for Neath, explained why he believed Labour crashed to its most humiliating defeat since the war.
With low turnout and swings of up to 35 per cent against it, the party lost core seats such as Rhondda to Plaid Cymru. "We have got ourselves into a dangerous situation where a Labour government appears as if it is being gratuitously offensive to its own natural supporters," he said.
"I have become convinced that we have a big problem with our core vote. At the elections last month, they felt ignored as if we, as a government, are not for them. There are real dangers in this relentless pursuit of the Daily Mail Middle England voter.
"Too often our core vote is dismissed as Old Labour. We need to make our supporters feel as if they own the Governmnent rather than the other way round."
The Government should do more to spell out its "radical socialist" programme, including the New Deal, minimum wage and higher public spending, to attract its natural supporters, he said.
Mr Hain, who was Alun Michael's campaign manager in his battle against Rhodri Morgan for the Welsh Labour leadership, went on to claim that the contest was damaging to the Prime Minister's personal popularity in Wales.
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Weather bomb in pictures: Storms cuts power for tens of thousands – and snow is on the way
Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
Russell Brand was rendered speechless on Question Time by this man
Fury at Airbus after it hints the super-jumbo may be mothballed
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
Sony hack: Angelina Jolie branded 'seriously out of her mind' in further embarrassing leaked email saga
Panic Saturday: 13 million Britons spend £1.2bn – while 13 million others across the country live in poverty unable to afford food
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We have an excellent role for a...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: An IT Support Analyst is required to join the ...
Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: SURREY - An outstanding high level opportunity...
Very Competitive Salary : Austen Lloyd: NICHE CITY FIRM - We are making a disc...