Lisa Nandy accuses New Labour of being ‘as tight as the Tories’ as she praises Jeremy Corbyn
Lisa Nandy has accused the last Labour government of being "as tight as the Tories" as she praised Jeremy Corbyn's leadership of the party.
In a clear attempt to woo left-wing Labour members in the race to succeed Mr Corbyn, she said Tony Blair and Gordon Brown "tacitly accepted that four decades of economic conservatism was a bigger priority than people".
She said that approach only changed in 2015 when Mr Corbyn succeeded Ed Miliband as Labour leader.
In a speech calling for the creation of "a modern, empowering welfare state for the 21st century”, Ms Nandy took aim at the policies pursued by Labour in the past.
She said: "Under Thatcher the economy went from one that controlled unemployment to one that controlled inflation.
“The argument was lost. Later, we tacitly accepted that four decades of economic conservatism was a bigger priority than people.
“That only by showing we could be as tight as the Tories could we buy legitimacy for helping people in the most need.
“It was only four years ago, with the election of Jeremy Corbyn, that Labour broke with this consensus. It was an important moment for us.”
Ms Nandy also rejected the suggestion that Mr Blair had won three elections, saying: "People say that Tony Blair won three elections, but he didn’t, it was a team, it was a movement.”
But the Tony Blair Institute hit back, tweeting: “Any assertion that the last Labour government was a continuation of the Thatcher era is bad politics and worse history.
“1997-2010 saw huge improvements in Britain's public services, with millions lifted out of poverty and radical changes made to the lives of many, for the better.”
Meanwhile, Jess Phillips has backed Ms Nandy's leadership bid a day after she dropped out of the contest.
She said: "I think Lisa has been deeply impressive throughout the race.
"And I have found that not just on a personal level but I think the public view and the stuff that she has been doing have really made her stand out.”
The Birmingham Yardley MP told Sky News: "I think Lisa Nandy is a brilliant woman and would be a brilliant leader of the Labour Party."
She added that on her ballot: "I would vote Lisa one and Keir two."
Ms Nandy was made aware of the endorsement after she delivered her speech at homeless charity Centrepoint, saying she was “very pleased to hear it”.
She added: “If she’s got about 250,000 friends we could end this contest right now."