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Has Lord Kinnock broken Labour party ranks?

Lord Kinnock

Former Labour leader signs petition warning that public sector cuts are ‘not necessary’

Published: 28th January, 2011
by TOM FOOT

NEIL Kinnock has appeared to break ranks with his party’s official economic line by signing a petition warning that savage public sector cuts are “not necessary” and could be met by slashing defence budgets and clamping down on super-rich tax dodgers.

The former Labour leader, now a House of Lords peer living in Tufnell Park, was a prominent supporter in the campaign to get Ed Miliband elected as Labour leader.

Mr Miliband, since winning the race against his brother David, has repeatedly warned against the “irresponsible pace and scale” of the cuts. But he does not believe they are “not necessary”.

The Islington Hands Off Our Public Services (IHOOPS) petition calls for public sector funding to be maintained through “progressive alternatives”, including the “cancellation of Trident” and recovering billions of pounds lost in tax avoidance loopholes.

Mr Miliband has sta­ted his support for nuclear deterrents and a like-for-like replacement for Trident.

Lord Kinnock is believed to be the party’s most prominent politician to sign such a strongly worded petition of this kind.

In a written statement to IHOOPS, Lord Kinnock Baron of Bedwellty said cuts would kill jobs and growth, and end up increasing the deficit, adding: “It’s all pain and no gain. Joining the protest is vital and it affects everybody.”

Islington North MP Jeremy Corbyn, who has also signed the petition, said: “It shows he is out engaging with people in the street and I’m pleased that he is one of my constituents and that he has signed a petition. These cuts are unnecessary. They are part of a shock doctrine that is destroying the welfare state and the health ser­vice.”

IHOOPS activists were out campaigning against public sector cuts and collecting signatures for their petition outside the Nag’s Head in Holloway Road on Saturday.

Organiser Shirley Franklin said she ran down the street after Lord Kinnock was spotted on a shopping trip. A spokesman for the group added: “Neil Kinnock joining the protest is vital.”

IHOOPS is a non-sectarian group that campaigns to defend the welfare state and prevent cuts to public ser­vices, jobs and pensions, while also campaigning for progressive alternatives.

The group has organised a protest march from the Nag’s Head to Islington Green on Saturday February 5.

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