The Labour leadership election is a battle for the soul of the party, one of the candidates in the race has said.
In a speech in Manchester on Thursday Yvette Cooper argued that frontrunner Jeremy Corbyn was offering “old solutions to old problems” and that he could not win the Labour leadership election.
“We cannot condemn today’s five year olds to spend all their childhood under a Tory Government," she told an audience.
Referencing a poll showing Mr Corbyn with a vast lead over his rivals, she said: “If the Times and YouGov [poll is] right – and it’s a big if – there’s a battle on for the soul of our party.
“It’s not about personalities. It’s about the future of our country, and I won’t duck that fight, because there is too much at stake.
“I’m here because I can’t walk away from this party, can’t walk away from the people Labour should be standing for.”
She criticised Mr Corbyn’s international policy and said that Labour would not win under his leadership, leaving it with only its “principles”.
Labour leadership: The Contenders
Labour leadership: The Contenders
1/4 Jeremy Corbyn
Jeremy Corbyn readily admits he is only standing to ensure the left of the party is given a voice in a contest dominated by candidates promising to move the party towards the centre-ground of British politics
Profiles by Matt Dathan
2/4 Andy Burnham
Andy Burnham is the current front-runner to win the leadership election according to bookmakers, but the fact that the Conservative party leadership hopes he wins shows the task that awaits if he is Ed Miliband’s successor. He will have to find a way of distancing himself from both the last five years under Mr Miliband and the Blair and Brown years, during which he served in the Cabinet
3/4 Yvette Cooper
Yvette Cooper will also face a battle in convincing voters she offers a sufficient break with the past, having served in Gordon Brown’s Cabinet and she played a key role in Mr Miliband’s team as shadow home secretary. The fact that her husband is Ed Balls will not have a negative impact internally but voters are not likely to look favourably on the prospect of Mr Miliband’s ousted shadow chancellor entering Downing Street if Ms Cooper wins in 2020
4/4 Liz Kendall
Liz Kendall faces criticism over her lack of experience – she was only elected in 2010 and has no experience of serving in government and wasn't even in Ed Miliband’s shadow cabinet. But that very lack of experience means she can make a pitch as the only candidate offering real change and a real break from the Blair/Brown/Miliband years
“I dare you to tell that to the woman in tears because she cant afford her bedroom tax arrears, tell that to the working parents on tax credits about to lose thousands of pounds who cant afford new school shoes for the autumn term, tell that to the family struggling with care costs, forced to sell their family home, tell that to all those people who are being hit by Tory government,” she said.
“All those people with no one else to stand up for them other than the Labour party.That’s us. That’s our job. We can’t walk away.”
Like her colleagues Andy Burnham and Liz Kendall, Ms Cooper did not vote against benefit cuts included in the Government’s latest welfare bill. Mr Corbyn voted against the cuts.
Ms Cooper is roughly in the middle of the field for the Labour leadership race, according to polling and constituency party nominations
A latest poll showed Mr Corbyn winning on first preference votes.Reuse content