Lord Adonis gets grilled by Hartley-Brewer on EU vaccine row
The former Labour minister was responding to reports Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer will try to reset his faltering leadership with a pledge to make his party “unashamedly pro-business”. Sir Keir is reported to be preparing to unveil a policy agenda believed to include tax cuts for firms and a pledge to extend the business rates holiday to help companies battered by the coronavirus pandemic.
The policy Labour should adopt is to rejoin the Customs Union and as much of the Single Market as possible
But Lord Adonis urged Sir Keir to go even further by pledging to get Britain back into the single market and customs union.
The Labour peer, who has been calling for Britain’s return to the European Union ever since its departure from the bloc on New Year’s Eve, tweeted: “The ‘unashamedly pro business’ policy Labour should adopt is to rejoin the Customs Union and as much of the Single Market as possible.”
His latest demands come after a leaked email from Claire Ainsley, Sir Keir’s director of policy, said Labour had to attract more support by becoming more business friendly.
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She warned: “We won’t recover if the Tories raid family finances with universal credit cuts, forcing councils to hike up council tax or freezing key worker pay. But we also won’t recover if we just stand by as businesses go bust.
“To be the party of working people and their communities, Labour must be unashamedly pro-business to drive growth and opportunity in every part of our country.”
Labour’s attempts to win support from business comes with Sir Keir trailing Boris Johnson in the opinion polls and party chiefs questioning why Labour’s progress has stalled so badly.
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He took over the leadership from Jeremy Corbyn following the party’s election humiliation in 2019.
But after an initial burst which saw Sir Keir overhaul Mr Johnson in the polls, his approval ratings have plummeted in recent weeks amid accusations he is failing to take the battle to the Government.
One Labour source said: “Even Piers Morgan has more traction with these voters to criticise this Government than we do.
“Our problem is that the public wants Boris Johnson to do well.
“They think he’s had a really bad hand and they want him to succeed.
“We haven’t got permission to be in the room.”
Early last year, Sir Keir warned his party they had a “mountain to claim” if they want to regain power.
But the source claimed those voters who turned away from the party “didn’t leave us overnight”.
They told The Times: “We’re not up the mountain.
“We’re not even at the difficult point yet, where you’re huffing and puffing and feel like your heart is going to explode.
“The voters that we need to win back didn’t leave us overnight.”
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One MP said: “There’s something missing. We’re not in the relegation zone anymore, but equally we’re not ahead of the Tories in the polls and given the mess they’re in, we ought to be.
“Even Ed Miliband was constantly eight or nine points ahead of David Cameron and look where that ended up.”
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