UK Politics

Dan Jarvis sets out more 'radical' vision for next Labour government

Dan Jarvis Image copyright PA

Labour MP Dan Jarvis - seen as a future leadership contender - has set out his vision for winning back voters.

The Barnsley Central MP argued in a speech that Labour did not do enough when it was in power to tackle inequality and fears about immigration.

He took a swipe at New Labour - saying it was not "radical" enough - and distanced himself from Ed Miliband, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.

He said disadvantaged people wanted a party that "beats the government".

Mr Jarvis told an audience at think-tank Demos: "Let's be frank - New Labour's approach wasn't enough. It didn't get at the root causes.

"New Labour didn't see with sufficient clarity the downsides of globalisation. They knew it meant cheap consumer goods. But they didn't recognise that too often it meant cheap labour too."

'Tough on inequality'

However, he urged the party not to abandon its record in government altogether.

"It's a false choice to say we must either champion Labour's record in government or denounce it. The truth is we should defend our achievements and learn from our mistakes. To anyone outside Westminster, that's common sense," he said.

Mr Jarvis, a former member of the Parachute regiment who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, entered Parliament in a by-election in 2011.

He resisted calls to stand in last year's Labour leadership contest, saying he needed to put his young family first (he had recently remarried after losing his first wife to cancer), but later said he regretted not thinking about a bid more.

He is regularly touted as a potential challenger to Jeremy Corbyn - if there is an attempt by the "moderate" wing of the party to oust the Labour leader.

In his speech, he said people left powerless by the actions of the Conservatives "want to vote for a party that doesn't just oppose the government, they want a party that beats the government".

He argued that the next Labour government "must take a more radical economic approach - more radical than we had under Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and Ed Miliband".

He added: "Put simply, Labour needs to be tough on inequality, tough on the causes of inequality."

And in a swipe at Mr Miliband's general election campaign, he said: "Even when people knew what our policies were they did not trust us to deliver them.

"We were talking a language from another planet."

He stressed the need to invest more in research and development, take a more long-term approach to the economy and encourage unions to "provide education and training to adults wishing to learn new skills".

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