Blair warns Labour not to pander to party base, as Miliband responds – Media roundup: April 16th, 2013

Blair warns Labour not to pander to party base – as Miliband responds

“Blair has renewed his call for Labour leaders to have the courage to stand up to their party base, as Ed Miliband told his MPs that his party had to move on from New Labour and heed Blair’s own advice to change. Blair’s tentative interventions in Labour politics, followed by further criticisms from other former Labour cabinet members, also prompted his former deputy prime minister Lord Prescott to round on the critics as crazy, and accuse them of sowing divisions just three weeks before the county council elections on 2 May. The in-fighting follows an article in the New Statesman by Blair urging Miliband to be more specific about policies, and not to imagine that the electorate has shifted to the left. He also warned there was a danger that Labour would “settle back into its old territory of defending the status quo”. It emerged on Monday that Blair renewed his criticisms last weekend, telling a university audience in America that electorates on both sides of the Atlantic did not want partisan politics. Speaking at Judson University in Illinois, he said: “At the very time that the public has come to a position of wanting you guys to get on and fix it, the political parties have become more partisan. It’s the same over our way as well.” – Guardian

“Ed Miliband is to meet with Tony Blair this week in an attempt to heal the rift which threatens to split the Labour party. The tense showdown comes after Mr Blair wrote a damning critique of Labour’s strategy, warning against relaying on being a ‘repository for people’s anger’ to win votes…The secret meeting between Mr Blair and Mr Miliband was revealed on live TV by Dame Tessa Jowell, an arch-Blairite who stood down from the Labour frontbench after the London Olympics. It is understood the crisis talks could be held on Wednesday, the same day as Baroness Thatcher’s funeral which both men are expected to attend.” – Daily Mail

“Ed Miliband last night rapped Tony Blair over his claims Labour was drifting too far to the left. The party leader said New Labour was “two decades old” and could not fight the next election on a Blairite agenda. At a meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party last night, Mr Miliband said: “Tony Blair taught us the world changed – and the world does change,” He added that Labour was “not a party of commentators” and would only win if it remained “disciplined and united.” Former Deputy PM John Prescott also turned on his former boss. He angrily told the meeting it was “crazy” for the party to start “dividing” three weeks before the local elections. “Let’s stop complaining and start campaigning,” he said.” – Mirror

Labour calls for “Banker Licenses”

“Britain should issue licences to bankers to help stamp out the kind of scandals that have hit the City of London in recent years, the opposition Labour party proposed on Tuesday. Labour will seek to amend a banking reform bill in parliament to strengthen existing checks on people working in the financial services industry. “The Libor rigging and mis-selling scandals were not the product of one or two rogue individuals but fundamental failures of standards within the banks – and we need to raise professional integrity with a stronger licensing power as a result,” said Labour MP Chris Leslie.” – Reuters

Other highlights

  • Labour politician appoints Labour politician (Tories predictably cry cronyism) – The Times(£)
  • The Tory spanner in the defamation works – Sadiq Khan, PoliticsHome
  • Ed Miliband should be pitching a bigger tent – Rachel Sylvester, The Times(£)
  • Ex-Countryfile presenter wants to be a Labour MP – Independent

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