Burnham veers left in attack on big business

Burnham: 'We were in the thrall of big business'
Burnham: 'We were in the thrall of big business'

By politics.co.uk staff

Andy Burnham will veer to the left tomorrow in his bid to become Labour party leader with a call for the party re-evaluate its attitude to big business.

The former health secretary is seen as a Blairite but recent weeks have seen him adopt an 'outsiders' image in his campaign to secure enough nominations to enter the formal race.

He has also sounded a more left wing tone than most of his opponents, in a bid to differentiate himself from Ed Balls, and David and Ed Miliband.


"We were in the thrall of big business," he is expected to say of New Labour tomorrow.

"We lost sight of the impact that had on individuals and their circumstances."

He will also attack the "prawn cocktail offensive" which began under John Smith on the 1990s and continued under the stewardship of Tony Blair.

The attitude of New Labour to the rich was cemented with Peter Mandelson's claim that the party was "relaxed" about people becoming "filthy rich".

Blairites believed it was vital to reassure the City that New Labour was not a socialist project, but party debates since the 2010 election have centred around the desertion of its traditional working class vote.

Some commentators believe redistributive policies, combined with protections against the effect on wages from immigration, might serve to bring that vote back into the fold.

A hustings of the Labour parliamentary party takes place tomorrow which will see the final nominations confirmed. Mr Burnham is struggling to get the support of the 33 Labour MPs required, but says he is confident he will make it into the formal contest.

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