Yvette Cooper's epiphany: Ed Miliband was too anti-business

Shadow Home Secretary said Mr Miliband’s attempt to divide the economy into predators and producers was a mistake

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Indy Politics

Five days after declaring her Labour leadership bid, Yvette Cooper has had an epiphany: Ed Miliband was too anti-business.

When she announced she was standing to take over from interim Labour leader Harriet Harman last week, she refused to admit the last Labour government spent too much in the run up to the financial crisis.

But today she was all-too-happy to stick the knife into Mr Miliband's economic strategy. Just 12 days after campaigning in favour of Mr Miliband’s “predators v producers” economic policy during the election campaign, the Shadow Home Secretary has performed a U-turn and said it was all a big “mistake”.

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The Labour leadership contenders spoke about the future of the party at a Progress event last weekend

She may have expressed her concerns in private – along with her husband, Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls, but if they did, they failed to alter the doomed economic strategy that led to Labour’s worst election performance in nearly 30 years.

It is now time to “reset” the party’s relationship with business, she said. If only she had persuaded to convince Mr Miliband to do the same six months ago, she might have been sat in the Home Office this morning instead of plotting her way to leading Labour.

Speaking out against her former boss, Ms Cooper described Mr Miliband’s attempt to divide the economy into "predators" and "producers" as “anti-business, anti-growth and ultimately anti-worker for the many people employed by large companies in the UK”.

She has vowed to back George Osborne’s decision to cut corporation tax to 20 per cent – a move that was rejected by her husband, Ed Balls.

And she would establish a business advisory group and invite non-Labour supporting bosses to join to ensure no more “rude surprises [for business] that backfire” – and presumably to avoid the endless letters from business leaders appearing in the Daily Telegraph in the days running up to election day.

Launching her bid to win back business, Ms Cooper said: "Labour has to show we want to build businesses up not knock them down. We need to reset our relationship with business around a shared vision for building an economy that faces the future.

"Too often in the past our rhetoric undermined that positive relationship with business, and with the creation of jobs and wealth for the future.

"People knew how we wanted to stop exploitation in the workplace, but not how we'd grow our workplaces to create more jobs and stronger growth.

"They knew we wanted to stop consumers being ripped off, but weren't convinced we also wanted businesses to grow and flourish. We can't let that happen again."

Ms Cooper is one of four candidates who have declared their bids to lead the Labour party  since Ed Miliband stood down. She is seen as the second favourite, behind Andy Burnham, the Shadow Health Secretary. Liz Kendall is the leading Blairite candidate, but that might change if Tristram Hunt enters the race - he is still considering launching a leadership bid.

Mary Creagh, another moderniser, is currently the outsider but like Ms Kendall and Mr Hunt she is not tarnished with the last Labour government under Gordon Brown.

Chuka Umunna resigned from the race, just days after launching his campaign. He cited the uncomfortable media scrutiny on his and his family's personal life.

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