Reid: We will win if we stay true

New Labour will win the next general election if it is true to its core values, John Reid claims
New Labour will win the next general election if it is true to its core values, John Reid claims

Home secretary John Reid has said that New Labour will win the next general election if it stays true to the values it has held over the last ten years - regardless of what the opposition does.

Speaking to party members at Dunraven School in south London, Mr Reid said Labour faced heavy challenges in the months to come - but is capable of overcoming them to secure a fourth term in office.

"This coming year will be the most challenging for Labour in a decade and a half. Not since we gathered ourselves together for a further major push in modernisation after the electoral defeat of 1992 have we faced such a challenge," the home secretary said.

"With the departure of Tony Blair, people will ask whether Labour will stay New Labour?

"And with the arrival of David Cameron, can Labour win as the party still best suited to govern?

"I have no doubt at all that the answer to the second question will be yes - if the answer to the first question is yes.

"If we remain true to a New Labour approach, then we can, will and should deserve another, fourth, term in government."

Mr Reid damned the Conservative party leader with faint praise, saying in "presentational terms" he is doing well, "especially by the standards of his predecessors".

But regardless of the changes or lack of them by the Tories, it is Labour's actions that will decide who wins the next general election, he asserted.

"Whatever David Cameron does or says, our future lies in our hands.

"Not just because here is some truth in the old saying that 'oppositions do not win elections, governments lose them', but because it has been our proven ability over the past fifteen years to continually renew ourselves to face the challenges of today and tomorrow that has sustained our support - precisely because we have refused to take working people for granted."

He added: "It is thus obvious to me we will win or lose the next election by our own hand.

"We will create our own victory; it will not be handed to us by the inadequacy of others.

"That is why it is so important that the electorate understand that we intend to remain New Labour to the core - and that the Labour party itself understands the importance of doing just that."

He said that this means that rather than respond to the Conservatives, or point out differences, Labour should instead talk about the relevance and importance of its own policies.

He described New Labour as the "party of aspiration".

"We placed ourselves on the side of modern working people's ambitions, and on the side of people of ambition," Mr Reid argued.

"That is our task again in the coming year," he said.

"To re-affirm that commitment. To show that we do and will remain true to the essence of New Labour politics.

"To confirm Labour as the party which recognises and supports ambition, achievement and aspiration.

"As long as we hold firm to that we will stay in government."


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