There is anger among Labour’s left-wing MPs and many grassroots members after Sir Keir ruled out bringing water and energy firms back into public ownership yesterday. Labour passed a motion backing nationalisation at its party conference and Sir Keir vowed to stick to the policies when he was elected as Labour leader.
Criticising Sir Keir this morning, Ms Abbott said: “Nationalisation is [an] agreed Labour Party policy, in the manifesto we were all elected on.
“More importantly, it is vital for the economic transformation we need, to cut the cost of living, create well-paid jobs and end the dearth of investment.”
The latest internal row to plague the Labour Party came after Sir Keir distanced himself from the party’s 2019 manifesto.
He insisted earlier this month that he had abandoned the policies set out by his predecessor, Jeremy Corbyn, and was starting again with a “clean slate”.
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Reiterating his point this morning, he said: “I don’t want a Labour Party that, as it was in 2019, was basically saying we can spend on anything.
“We’ve reversed those 2019 manifesto positions because we needed to show the country that we’re credible, we’re responsible on the economy”.
Dismissing calls from some of his MPs to commit to nationalisation, he told BBC Breakfast: “We’ve got to recognise that after the pandemic we’re in a different situation financially to the situation that we were in before, and we want a responsible Government that says if we’re going to do something we will tell you how we’re going to pay for it.
“The single most important thing is how we grow the economy, re-energise the economy, and that can’t be reduced to a discussion about nationalisation.”
When Sir Keir ran for the Labour leadership in 2020, he set out 10 pledges that he would stand by if elected.
Promising to “maintain our radical values” he pledged to continue to support nationalisation as part of the “moral case for socialism”.
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The pledge stated: “Public services should be in public hands, not making profits for shareholders.
“Support common ownership of rail, mail, energy and water; end outsourcing in our NHS, local government and justice system.”
Last night Mr Corbyn appeared to take a veiled swipe at his successor for ditching his promise.
In a dig that will likely stoke the fires, he said the UK needed a “radical economic alternative”.
The Islington North MP said: “This is a cost of living crisis where greed, profits and inequality continue to grow.
“There are more billionaires and more people forced into using food banks than at any other point in history.
“This scandal demands immediate action. The way forward has to be a radical economic alternative, including public ownership of rail, energy, water and the Royal Mail.
“We must recognise that most workers have seen cuts in wages over the past decade, whilst bosses take home record pay and bonuses. Now is the time for a bold alternative to the poverty, misery and desperation faced by millions of families in our communities and workplaces.”