Cooper warns against ‘swallowing the Tory manifesto’

Labour leadership contender Yvette Cooper has warned the party will not win back power simply by “swallowing the Tory manifesto”.

Sunday, 31st May 2015, 11:50 am
Yvette Cooper

The shadow home secretary hit out at “colleagues” who she said seemed to think that because they had lost the general election they had to accept the Tories were right.

Her comments, on BBC1’s The Andrew Marr Show, are likely to be seen as a swipe at Liz Kendall - the Blairites’ favourite to succeed Ed Miliband.

“I will set out ideas for the future that don’t just involve swallowing the Tory manifesto and set out a Labour vision for the future,” Ms Cooper said.

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“I think some of our colleagues in some of the discussions have been thinking that ‘OK, because Labour lost the election, therefore what we have to do is say that the Tories were right on things’.

“We do have to win back people who voted Tory and win back people who voted Ukip but I don’t think that necessarily means just swallowing the Tory manifesto.”

She also appeared to take aim at Andy Burnham - seen as the leadership front runner - with a warning not to “stigmatise” people on benefits.

Mr Burnham, the shadow health secretary, said last week that Labour had appeared to be “soft” on people “who want something for nothing”.

However Ms Cooper said: “What I won’t do is fall in to what I think is a Tory trap of using language which stigmatises those who are not working. I don’t think that is about Labour values.

“I think the important thing is to talk about responsibility - responsibility to work, responsibility to contribute - but not to stigmatise those who are unable to work, perhaps because they are too sick or too disabled to do so.

Ms Cooper said that while in principle she supported Conservative proposals to cut the benefit cap to £23,000 a year, she said there were problems in practice.

“There is a problem for London where rents have been so much higher and that has an impact on housing benefit,” she said.

She also said that she still supported Labour plans to restore the 50p top rate of tax after it was cut by the coalition in the last parliament to 45p.

“I think it is the right thing to do. I think it was unfair for those on the highest incomes to have a huge great tax cut at a time when the deficit is still too high,” she said.