Voters no longer know what the Labour Party stands for because it has stolen too many policies from the Conservatives, a Labour backbencher has claimed.
Wolverhampton MP Ken Purchase, who has announced plans to leave the Commons at the next election, launched a scathing criticism of his own party’s policies on housing, health and education during a Commons debate.
He said Labour had stolen the Conservative Party’s clothes and left the public uncertain about the differences between the two parties.
Mr Purchase (Lab Wolverhampton North East) was speaking during a debate on the Government’s draft legislative programme, published in May, which included plans for a range of measures including an NHS “constitution” to guarantee minimum standards, improving or closing failing schools and stronger legal protection for agency workers.
He said: “It has been a disappointment to me that fewer and fewer people seem to have a real understanding of what the Labour Party does, what it is for and what its real aims are – its goals and its purpose. People do not seem to know what it wants to achieve, behind those glorious sentiments that we have held so dear for so long – equality, fraternity, friendship, community, equal opportunities and equal outcomes.
“People in my constituency always knew where the Labour stood on, for example, grammar schools, private health care and private schooling.
“They knew that we were working in the opposite direction and that we wanted to produce more collective responses to the needs of our people in education, health and equal opportunity. Now, they are not sure because, over the years we seem to have adopted a pragmatic, right-of-centre view about the nature of our collective response to the need for housing, for example.”
He claimed the Government’s education policy was an attempt to please parents by giving them prestigious new types of school to send their child too.
Referring to an earlier speech by a Conservative MP, Mr Purchase added: “He suggested that Labour had stolen his party’s policies, and I am afraid that that is true. That is why we do not have the good Labour legislative programme that we should have.”