Owen Smith heads to Orgreave with pledge to appoint minister for workers

27th July, 2016 9:10 am

Owen Smith

Owen Smith will today pledge to introduce a Cabinet-level minister for labour to tackle inequality.

The leadership challenger will continue his appeal to traditional Labour values with a commitment to introduce a Secretary of State for Labour.

His rival, Jeremy Corbyn, has been a longstanding critic of Britain’s sharp divides in wealth while Theresa May drew comparisons with Ed Miliband when, in her first speech as prime minister, she focused on inequality.

Today Smith will use a speech at the former Orgreave colliery – home to the miners’ battle with police and symbolic of the Tories’ deindustrialisation in the 1980s – to commit to make Britain the best in the world for pay and conditions.

Smith will add a commitment to forming a Ministry for Labour which will focus energy into fair employment and fair funding in order to ensure “the fruits of our collective success are shared more equally”.

“We need to rediscover a sense of national mission for Britain,” The Welsh MP is expected to say,

“A faith in our country as having a future as bright as it’s past. And one where the fruits of our collective success are shared more equally between us.

“Where outcomes can be equal, not just the opportunities we create. That is why I am in politics. The Labour Party has achieved so much for social justice, but we need to be more than just our history. So in the next few weeks I’ll be setting out my vision for Labour’s future.

“A future of fair taxes, fair employment and fair funding. That means investment, not cuts with a British New Deal to defeat Tory austerity and re-balance the country.  And under my leadership, it would mean a strengthening of employment rights including creating a new Shadow Cabinet Secretary of State for Labour tasked with making Britain the envy of the world for the quality of our jobs and the protections they have, so workers have access to better terms and conditions.”

Smith’s speech follows his appearance on Newsnight, in which he criticised Corbyn for not understanding patriotism.

So far both leadership contenders have focused on inequality, with Jeremy Corbyn outlining it as one of the “five ills” of society a Labour Party led by him would campaign against. They will go head to head next week in leadership hustings next week in Cardiff, which will be live streamed for members.

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