Liz Kendall says she is not the 'Blairite' candidate for the Labour leadership

She says old labels are irrelevant

Jon Stone
Thursday 25 June 2015 16:27
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Labour leadership hopeful Liz Kendall appears on the BBC's The Andrew Marr Show
Labour leadership hopeful Liz Kendall appears on the BBC's The Andrew Marr Show

Labour leadership contender Liz Kendall has downplayed her association with the party’s so-called “Blairite” faction, claiming the label is no longer relevant.

During a radio interview in which she launched a new policy to promote a voluntary living wage, Ms Kendall said she represented a break with the past.

“We have to move on from these labels of the past,” she told BBC Radio 4's Today programme. “I’m not a Blairite candidate, I’m my own candidate.”

The term “Blairite” originally referred to supporters of Tony Blair, as opposed to “Brownites”, grouped around his political rival Gordon Brown.

Since Mr Blair’s departure the word has come to describe those on the party’s moderate, centrist, or centre-right wing.

It is increasingly used as a pejorative, and is now rarely a term members of the party describe themselves as.

Ms Kendall is widely regarded as the candidate representing this political grouping, stressing policies and rhetoric that are overwhelmingly positive towards business and ‘aspiration’.

By contrast, Jeremy Corbyn is the candidate most favoured by the party’s left wing, while Yvette Cooper and Andy Burnham are most at home on its centre-left.

In the interview Ms Kendall said that while the deficit was being reduced she would not be drawn on reducing the 45p top rate of tax to 40p – though she did not rule out future cuts.

She has previously said she does not believe the rate should return to 50p, as the last Labour government left it.

Ms Kendall has previously been subject to an attack by her rival Yvette Cooper last month decrying leadership candidates intent on “swallowing the Tory manifesto”.

Her distinctive policies announced so far include encouraging firms to voluntarily pay the living wage and an Australian-style points-based immigration system.

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