Left Watch

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Neil Kinnock launches an attack on his Labour comrades

Matthew Barrett

Neil Kinnock has attacked Labour MPs who are against the Alternative Vote - a majority of the Parliamentary Labour Party. He also repeated the Chris Huhne line that Britain is a centre-left country, denied the government it really wants by First Past The Post: 

"I simply cannot understand how experienced colleagues can mistake the lessons of the last 60 years: that the Tories have profited massively from divisions in the continual anti-Tory majority"

His comments are interesting, because he is very close to Ed Miliband, and he is the first prominent "Labour Yes" supporter to attack No-voting colleagues, and could well be a proxy for Mr Miliband's frustrations. Mr Miliband has appeared at Yes campaign events, including sharing a stage with Vince Cable. Since Mr Miliband became leader, Labour MPs have been relatively united, so Lord Kinnock's comments, openly made about colleagues, are significant. 

Today, Lord Boateng, the former Cabinet member, has come out against AV, and, more importantly, Ed Miliband's Shadow Health Secretary, John Healey, has come out against it, too. Mr Healey is appearing at a No campaign event, sharing a stage with William Hague and Theresa May, and will become the most senior member of the Shadow Cabinet to appear at such an event. The official No broadcast featured David Blunkett and another former Home Secretary, Lord Reid - the No campaign is trying to persuade Labour voters, who are divided on the issue, and may hold the key to success in the referendum. 

Labour MPs are also divided, but a majority have not only backed the No campaign, they have ignored the "leadership" of Ed Miliband.