Labour members who still pine for the Red Flag and hate the Red Rose are appalled that even the traditional colour now appears under threat. They have protested to Labour's Millbank headquarters because the new cards, issued to mark the centenary of the party's birth, also use the words "New Labour" for the first time.
The critics claim Tony Blair has subtly completed his long-term mission to change the party's name, which he joked about after winning support for the ditching of Clause IV of Labour's constitution in 1995.
Phil Jones, chairman of the Wirral West constituency party, said: "I am a little colour-blind, but I could tell that my card was definitely no longer red." In a letter to Millbank, Mr Jones said: "I am puzzled as to the altered wording of Clause IV of the party's constitution that appears on my card. `The Labour Party' has been changed to `New Labour' (two words). I am unaware that the name of the party has been changed and so must conclude that this is a mistake." He has sent four letters to Labour HQ since receiving his new card but has not yet received a reply.
A Labour spokesman said last night that the membership cards were meant to be red and denied the party had dropped its traditional colour. If they looked orange, it was not intended."The words `The Labour Party' also appear on the card. New Labour was included to avoid repetition. It is not a devious plan to change the name of the party." Blair by-election row, page 2