Labour in turmoil north and south
Kendall bids to replace Miliband, more pressure on Murphy
Labour appears to be heading towards a dual leadership contest, with the party’s Scottish executive meeting this weekend to discuss Jim Murphy’s future, and a number of hats being thrown into the ring to replace Ed Miliband.
Mr Murphy has pledged to carry on as Scottish leader despite the party’s disastrous performance last week which saw it lose all but one seat, including his own East Renfrewshire constituency.
A vote of no confidence in the Scottish party leader is to be tabled by the executive and two trade unions have called on him to resign. Amid the hand-wringing aftermath of Thursday’s devastating result, some are urging a root and branch review of what the party stands for north of the border.
A similar soul-searching exercise is taking place in England where the contest to succeed Ed Miliband is under way. Former shadow care minister Liz Kendall (pictured) is one of the first to show her hand. She said there is a need to reformulate New Labour and said she wanted to “create something new”.
She told the BBC’s Sunday Politics show: “The words New Labour mean different things to different people and I think going back to the past isn’t what we need.
‘We’re going to have to build something genuinely new in the future, but if what he meant by that is we’ve got to keep our working class voters and support but also reach out to Conservative supporters and middle England, that’s absolutely right. That’s just a fact that that’s what you’ve got to do to win and I think we lost some of that.
“In speaking to people all over the country, I had lots of people say who said who were working on the minimum wage that if they got £8 an hour now it would be tough – let alone in 2019 – so they didn’t feel we were doing enough for them. And if you weren’t on the minimum wage or a zero-hours contract and you owned your own house, people didn’t feel like we were saying anything for them and that’s what we’ve got to try and address.”
She argued that Labour needed to stop being a party that dictated solutions from the centre, adding: “Our job is to say to people: you can face the future with confidence and not fear. But that’s not by government doing things to people or for them.”
Ms Kendall is likely to face competition from Chuka Umunna, Tristram Hunt, Yvette Cooper and Andy Burnham. Dan Jarvis has ruled himself out.