UK Politics

Labour leadership: Kendall in 'continuity Miliband' warning

Liz Kendall Image copyright PA
Image caption Liz Kendall has said Labour's centre of gravity needs to be shifted

Liz Kendall says she is the only Labour leadership candidate who would fully break with Ed Miliband's leadership.

She told The Sun her three rivals were all "continuity Miliband" candidates who would not connect with aspirational low and middle income voters.

It come as another contender, Yvette Cooper, sets out a plan to create two million high tech jobs.

Ms Cooper, Ms Kendall, Andy Burnham and Jeremy Corbyn will take part in a leadership hustings later.

The four MPs are vying to succeed Mr Miliband as Labour leader, with the result of the election to be announced in early September.

The campaign so far has been dominated by the candidates' attitudes to Labour's election defeat and how far they are willing to distance themselves from the policies put forward by Mr Miliband.

'Same result'

Claims by Ms Kendall and her supporters that only she would break from the past have led to a war of words between their rival camps.

In an interview with the Sun, Ms Kendall said she made no apology for calling for a complete change of approach, claiming that "if we stick with what we have been saying for the last five or eight years, we will have the same result".

Image caption Yvette Cooper says Labour must focus on the jobs of the future

"I think I am the only person in this race that isn't continuity Miliband," she said. "The other candidates haven't spelled out how they would be different from Ed Miliband."

In a direct appeal to readers of the Sun, which was highly critical of Mr Miliband's leadership, Ms Kendall said Labour needed to show it could be trusted with people's money and had more to say to homeowners and those who run their own business.

"We have got to get back to the values of the British people - work, responsibility, wanting to get on, wanting to be a success, and being proud of that - not making people ashamed or think somehow that they are doing something wrong."

Financial commitment

During a campaign visit to the University of Manchester, Ms Cooper argued that Britain was being "left behind" as a country, with its spending on research and development and science lagging behind that of other comparable European economies.

Even when major scientific discoveries are made in the UK, such as with graphene - a material that has been been touted as having the scope to transform electronics - she said the UK has often been slow to exploit their commercial potential.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Ms Cooper will refer to Harold Wilson's famous "white heat" speech in 1963

Acknowledging that Labour's relationship with business is in "real need of recovery", she said a future Labour government must aspire to spend 3% of the UK's national output on science and R&D to bring it into line with the likes of Germany.

Such a financial commitment, backed by a 10-year plan, was needed to create two million high-skilled manufacturing jobs, she said.

'Networked world'

"Britain can't compete with Brazil or Indonesia on low-wage, low-skills jobs," she said.

"But with high-skilled jobs in emergent technologies, in the harnessing of new technologies such as graphene, we can do what we've done before: punch well above our weight as a small island off the coast of Europe. That should be Labour's mission."

All small businesses, she argued, should have guaranteed access to high-speed broadband since the digital economy was crucial to Britain's future long-term competitiveness.

Stressing that Labour must be the champion of innovation as the route to greater productivity, she recalled Harold Wilson's famous prediction in 1963 that a new Britain would be forged in the "white heat" of a scientific revolution.

"Just as Labour championed the white heat of technology in the 1960s, so today we need to champion the white flashing constellations of the networked world".

The Conservatives have pledged to spend 2.5% of GDP on science and R&D by 2020 while Chancellor George Osborne has said Manchester will be heart of a northern powerhouse, underpinned by investment in world-class science and research facilities.

The four candidates will take part in a hustings in Manchester later, organised by trade union Unison.

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