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Last Updated: Thursday, 7 June 2007, 11:24 GMT 12:24 UK
Labour contenders: Policy-by-policy

Labour deputy leadership contenders

An at-a-glance guide to where the six contenders to be Labour's next deputy leader stand on key issues.


All six contenders voted in favour of the war in Iraq.

Hilary Benn: Mistakes were made but it was "right" to remove Saddam Hussein from power. "Fragile democracy" in Iraq must be supported.

Hazel Blears: Incorrect intelligence to blame for war. Economic development in Iraq must now be top priority.

Jon Cruddas: Regrets voting for the war and wants Labour to apologise for it to restore public trust in politics.

Peter Hain: Refuses to "wriggle out" of responsibility for Iraq. Focus must now be on withdrawing troops and stabilising the region.

Harriet Harman: Regrets voting for war. Says she would not have done so had she known there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Admitting war was a mistake the only way to restore public trust.

Alan Johnson: UK "can't just walk away" from its responsibilities in Iraq.


Hilary Benn: Wants to be deputy party leader but says it is up to Gordon Brown who is deputy prime minister. Says he will offer "frank advice" to Mr Brown. "I will be a voice for the grassroots inside the government. I will work with people to rebuild and unite the party."

Hazel Blears: Says she would be Labour's "campaigner-in-chief", using the role of deputy leader to fight for next election victory, making her current post of party chairman effectively redundant.

Jon Cruddas: Only candidate who does not want to be a Cabinet minister. Wants to concentrate instead on rebuilding Labour's campaigning strength around the country. "Perhaps the biggest problem is that ordinary members do not feel they are listened to. The party's membership and democracy has been hollowed out. I am determined to put that right and stand up for our members."

Peter Hain: "We need a loyal but independent-minded deputy, free from factional attachments." Pledges to be an "umbilical cord" between party members and the Cabinet.

Harriet Harman: Argues her good relationship with Gordon Brown - she was once shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury -means she can tell him "privately and honestly when things need to change". Claims polling show a Brown-Harman team gives Labour the best chance of winning the next election. Says she would make sure women's issues are "not marginal".

Alan Johnson: Wants to be deputy prime minister as well as deputy leader, pledging to "assist, support, cajole and complement the person who carries the heaviest of all political burdens". Also wants to remain education secretary if he wins the contest.


Hilary Benn: "I'm not in favour of a 50p tax rate; we have given a commitment to voters about tax and we should keep to it." Also against further taxation of City bonuses but urges greater social responsibility: "I think those that have been very fortunate in life have a particular obligation to make a contribution."

Hazel Blears: Rejected calls for higher top tax rate, saying it would be "electoral suicide". "I don't believe in a cap on aspiration, or that the government should tell people how to spend their money." Wants incentives to "make it easier for high-earners to become philanthropic".

Jon Cruddas: "I'm not hostile to the idea of increasing the top rate of tax to pay for spending on education and reducing child poverty." On City bonuses: "Higher rates of tax need to be considered for the very richest. This could help offset social and economic inequalities and be directly used to fund better public services."

Peter Hain: "I said four years ago that I thought we ought to look at raising taxes for the super-rich so we could reduce them for those at the bottom and those in the middle. I got my fingers burned then and I'm not going back there again." Wants voluntary curbs on "obscene" City bonuses. "We should appeal to people's better natures. They should show a moral and social responsibility by investing that money in good causes."

Harriet Harman: Has attacked "excessive, ridiculous" City bonuses and called for an end to a "divided society where some people struggle and others spend 10,000 on a handbag". Stops short of calling for higher taxes. Wants a Royal Commission on closing the growing gap between the rich and poor.

Alan Johnson: Against 50% top tax rate and further taxation of City bonuses, warning against return of "politics of envy". Urges greater social responsibility, arguing "companies and individuals should put more back into the community, for example by sponsoring city academies."


Hilary Benn: "I think we need to be unapologetic about our socialist values... I want a democracy in which people give something back and that redistributes wealth and opportunity." Says "Labour values are in my blood" and pledges to "argue for a more straightforward kind of politics". Policy ideas include access to flexible working for all employees.

Hazel Blears: New Labour loyalist, who emphasises her working class roots but warns against move to the left. Says Labour's "scarce resources" should be targeted on marginal seats: "Elections are won and lost on the centre ground of politics. We vacate that ground at our peril."

Jon Cruddas: Wants change of direction for New Labour to appeal more to core working class vote: "From Iraq to Trident, from commercialisation of public services to workers' rights, I understand the concerns and frustrations of party members." Policy ideas include tougher protection for temporary and agency workers, earned citizenship for illegal immigrants, nuclear disarmament and more council houses.

Peter Hain: Labour has to "reconnect with grassroots members, trade unionists and voters" to win next election. "What I want to do is reach out all those we've lost touch with. We won't do that by more of the same... we need a radical new vision leading the world in the fight against climate change, reducing the gap between rich and poor and democracy from House of Lords onwards."

Harriet Harman: Has called for "bold" new policies. "We should completely ignore all the points that the Tories are making, that we are lurching to the left, that they are going to occupy the centre ground." Policy ideas include target to close the gender pay gap; making most jobs available part-time, change to US/UK relationship. Says she wants to end a "culture of spin".

Alan Johnson: Labour needs to "reconnect with our grassroots" and strengthen links with trade unions but it should also recognise Tony Blair has moved the centre ground to the left. "We have to hold that centre ground - this is about renewal, not reversal". Has backed an amnesty for illegal immigrants and possible end to tax breaks for public schools.


Hilary Benn: Says NHS is in "much better shape than people give it credit for" but wants "more say" for frontline staff in how it is run.

Hazel Blears: "More public ownership," elections for NHS boards to "reconnect citizens" to healthcare but "first and foremost a better dialogue with the people that work in the NHS".

Jon Cruddas: A "moratorium" on the increasing role of private companies in the NHS which he says has created a "two tier" workforce. More input from frontline staff on reforms.

Peter Hain: "First we need a moratorium on structural change and reorganisation in the NHS. The health service doesn't need to be in a state of permanent revolution in order to deliver. We also need to set out a clear role and limits of private sector provision."

Harriet Harman: Contracting out of NHS services has driven down pay and caused unequal pay between men and women. "We should never, ever be saying...we need the private sector to do the innovation because the public sector doesn't innovate".

Alan Johnson: "Proper dialogue" needed with undervalued NHS workers. "We have listened a bit too much to the British Medical Association and not enough to unions like Unison...we should be bringing unions in the health service much more closely into the social partnership."


Hilary Benn: "Lifelong opponent of selection at 11". Wants to bring out the "potential within every single child" by improving the education system.

Hazel Blears: More emphasis on citizenship training and more city academies.

Jon Cruddas: "We need to take a long hard look at where academy and trust schools are taking us...far from giving choice, they are deepening social divisions." Wants end to tax breaks for public schools.

Peter Hain: Against academic selection and does not want specialist schools or academies in England to pick children "by aptitude".

Harriet Harman: More focus on the family's role in education, including having a secretary of state for the family.

Alan Johnson: Backs more city academies and trust schools and raising school leaving age to 18. Public schools could loan teachers to state schools: "Independent schools will have to do more to justify their charitable status." Recently hit headlines for saying teachers should not pick children who have their hands up, to "make sure no one is left behind - from the most gifted children to the quiet child."

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