Rebecca Long-Bailey sparks Labour split with 'council house building boom' pledge
Rebecca Long-Bailey has sparked a Labour split after challenging her leadership rivals to match her plans for a "council house building boom".
The Labour leadership hopeful said her vision would enable "millions of people to realise their dream of a secure, quality home in their community".
She said increasing the number of council homes was a key plank of her "aspirational socialism" agenda.
Speaking at a rally in Peterborough on Friday night, Mrs Long-Bailey called on fellow leadership candidate Sir Keir Starmer and Lisa Nandy to back her plans.
A press notice issued by her team also highlighted the fact that housing was not included in the 10 policy pledges issued by Sir Keir.
Ms Nandy accused the Shadow Brexit Secretary of "an attempt to manufacture division where there is none".
But Mrs Long-Bailey said: "If we want to lay the foundations of aspirational socialism by fixing the housing system from top to bottom, we’ve got to start with a council house building boom.
"These new homes can and should be built to the best standards. And I know it can be done. Councils can build desirable, actually pretty swanky, homes; I’ve seen it in my own backyard in Salford.
"So if you want millions of people to realise their dream of a secure, quality home in their community that doesn’t cost the earth and you want Labour to proudly argue for a council house building boom, then I’m your woman."
Responding to the comments, a spokesperson for Sir Keir pointed out that he had already won the backing of the Labour Housing Group.
"During this contest Keir has set out his commitment to a new generation of council and social homes in every community," he said.
Ms Nandy said: "This is an attempt to manufacture division where there is none. A decent, affordable home is a human right. As Labour leader I would maintain our commitment to a programme of mass council house building and ensuring secure, affordable tenancies for renters.
"We need to go further than the manifesto, with a plan to tackle the overheated housing market in London and big cities to balance the economy. Too many people are forced to leave home to find decent work, and that's fueling some of the dysfunction in the housing market.
"From my work with homeless young people I know the value of having a place to call home. I will fight tirelessly to ensure everyone in this country has secure and affordable housing."