Flint: Labour suffering from ‘surfeit of initiatives’

By Alex Stevenson

Former Cabinet minister Caroline Flint has hit out at excessive “white noise” coming from the government, but insisted Labour can still win the next general election.

Ms Flint quit her post as Europe minister after disastrous local election results for Labour this spring. She claimed her limited role in the Cabinet meant she was merely female “window-dressing” for the prime minister.

In a fringe meeting hosted by the Fabian Society at the Labour party conference in Brighton last night Ms Flint said some of the government’s press efforts were counter-productive.

“I think we can be clearer. There’s too much white noise coming out of government,” she said.

“There’s too many government initiatives. You have departments competing against each other for airtime.”

Ms Flint called for Labour to be “more focused” in a political environment where the party were not receiving a “fair crack” from the media.

She said the 1997 election was won because Labour had a broad appeal across the working and middle classes – and pressed on the party not to forget this.

“I do think sometimes we have mixed messages in government,” she added.

Ms Flint’s comments received support from an unexpected quarter. Conservative blogger Iain Dale agreed that Labour suffered from “initiative-itis”.

He suggested a Tory victory at the next election seemed likely, but added that events could easily change what appeared the odds-on outcome now.

“If David Cameron’s caught in bed with a dead goat that could change things,” Mr Dale suggested.