Lord David Blunkett tells Andrew Marr that Keir Starmer has learnt from "what didn't work" after Labour's 2010 defeat

22 November 2022, 19:29 | Updated: 22 November 2022, 19:36

“Labour’s changed from the Corbin era" Lord Blunkett told Andrew Marr
“Labour’s changed from the Corbin era" Lord Blunkett told Andrew Marr. Picture: LBC / Alamy

By Danielle DeWolfe

Lord David Blunkett has told Andrew Marr that Sir Keir Starmer isn't going back to New Labour - but instead is learning from "what didn't work" from the party's 2010 election defeat.

Describing Starmer’s speech to the CBI this morning as “a speech to the business community, but a speech also to the country“, Blunkett asserted Labour had also "changed from the Corbin era".

“We did some fantastic things that need to be dusted down and refined for an era that’s twelve, thirteen years on from the defeat in 2010,” said Blunkett.

“I don’t want us to be New Labour. New Labour was appropriate for 25 years ago,” he said.

“I want us to be Labour party for the 2020s and 2030s - and that does mean looking ahead. It does mean putting a lot of meat on the bones of policies that are starting to emerge.”

Lord David Blunkett: 'We need an occupational health policy to keep people in work'

He added the party were “serious about government”, noting “the policies that we’ll bring forward will be designed to deal with the catastrophe that we’ll face in two years time.”

Reflecting on his party's past mistakes, the former Home Secretary said that both he and the party had learnt lessons where the economy and upgrading of skills are concerned.

“I’ve learnt. I think the party’s learnt. And i think we as a nation have learnt, that we’ve really got to do something about the immediate skills needs, but also the medium and long term," said Blunkett.

He added: “We got into the belief that we could have high growth, low unemployment, low inflation, low interest rates by bringing people in instead of a long term plan to get people skilled.

“It worked in terms of the economy, but it didn’t work in terms of the politics."

“Labour’s changed from the Corbin era" Lord Blunkett told Andrew Marr
“Labour’s changed from the Corbin era" Lord Blunkett told Andrew Marr. Picture: LBC / Alamy

Speaking on the need to improve the skills of the British work force, the former Home Secretary said we need to “get a long term plan to get people skilled”.

On the subject of immigration, he told Marr: “I think the right migration, economic migration for the right purposes is very sensible. We were moving towards that years ago, we’ve had it reversed - partly because of Ukraine, because that was unavoidable, partly because of Hong Kong, that was a choice.”

Finally describing Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s budget as “tragic”, Blunkett added the Chancellor hadn’t put “a penny more” into the immediate skilling of the workforce.

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