Liz Kendall on the campaign trail. Photo: Getty Images
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Liz Kendall: "The Labour Party I lead will always remember its purpose"

The full text of Liz Kendall's speech in her constituency.

It’s always a pleasure to be at De Montfort University. As Earl of Leicester, Simon De Montfort summoned the first parliament that included citizens of major towns, not just the aristocracy.
Every Labour politician should be grateful for that innovation. But I’ve not brought you here to show that it is possible to depose aristocratic rulers.
As you know, 20 days ago I announced that I wanted to be the leader of the Labour Party.
For a state school girl from Watford, who has been an MP for just 5 years - I recognise some people might think it’s audacious to suggest that I might lead our party and ask the country to elect me as our Prime Minister.
But I believe the magnitude of the defeat that our party has suffered, and the scale of the challenge we face, means taking the safe option and repeating the remedies of the past just won’t cut it for our party or country any more.
I know that in starting to lay out what fuels my passion about giving everyone an equal chance to succeed - and telling you more about me, where I’ve come from and where I want to go - there is nowhere I’d rather do this, than in Leicester, the city I represent and love.
This city and this university says so much both about the challenges we face in eradicating decades of inequality and the new and inspiring ways we need to work to ensure everyone achieves their potential.
I’m here because I want the work we’ve done together here in Leicester to be a model for Britain’s future.
At DMU you are relentlessly ambitious for your students. You’re passionate about giving all young people the best possible education, unleashing their talents and preparing them for life after University.
To achieve this, you work with others – like the Square Mile project that we’ve worked on together.
We’ve brought together DMU students with local schools and parents to mentor and inspire talented kids - many of whom would never even dream that they might be good enough to study at University let alone become a designer, doctor, lawyer, accountant, photographer or actor.
And we’ve done it because we know education opens doors that would otherwise remain tightly shut and because for far too many of our fellow citizens the chance to fulfill their potential and to dare to dream is just a distant illusion
I’m standing here today with an extraordinary request - to elect me as the leader of our party – not because my background is extraordinary.
Quite the opposite.  My parents are like many across Britain. Neither on the breadline, nor loaded, they were determined to give their daughter all that any of us can ask from our parents: love, security, ambition and hope.
And alongside that unconditional love, my parents demanded that I make the best of myself, that I recognise the opportunities that education offered and the doors it could open. Yet too few get that chance in life.
 
I well remember the pride that my parents felt when my brother and I went up to Cambridge, but I also know many friends that I grew up with - brilliant, funny, acutely intelligent girls - who never fulfilled their potential.
And I meet children here in Leicester, and look into their eyes and talk to them about their futures and know that the barriers that stand in their way are so high - and their capacity to scale them, with the hand that life has dealt them, is so small.
I know how difficult the future is for them in a world that is so unforgiving of those without skills. And I know that all of us who are responsible for their education are betraying their futures with our failure. As Labour people, we understand the complex problems that face children and families in some of our most deprived communities.
But make no mistake, under my leadership this understanding will never be an excuse for tolerating failure or dumbing down our expectations of kids on some of Britain’s toughest estates. We must be the champion of every child and passionate about ensuring they get the chances in life they deserve. 
Getting a great education is about even more than our profound belief that everyone should have the chance to fulfill their potential and live their hopes and dreams. It’s at the heart of our response to globalisation.
Our world is changing faster than ever before. New technologies develop, markets emerge, and companies and jobs change in what seems like the blink of an eye. When we were in Government, we were determined to seize the opportunities these changes bring - and rightly so.
 
But we failed to realise that the scale and pace of change was creating a profound sense of loss in some of our communities, and leaving too many people behind.  New Labour was too cavalier about the problems created globalisation.  I am not.
But showing leadership on this issue is about more than empathy, more than understanding, necessary though this is. Our response to global change should not be grievance and anger.  That leads nowhere and does not create a single new opportunity. We must be the champions of a chance not a grievance. And we mustn’t shy away from change but make it our mission to equip people with the skills, knowledge, character and confidence to make the most of it whatever their background.
This starts with the very earliest years of a life. I know, from when I was Director of the Maternity Alliance charity before I became an MP, that inequality shapes children’s futures before their lives have begun.
 
And I see it here in Leicester West – where children start school on average 15 months behind where they should be in terms of their development. This means they struggle even to get basic GCSEs let alone have the chance of going to college, university or getting a great job. A big reason why these early inequalities exist is about parenting and what happens in the home.
Children growing up in professional homes hear three times as many words as children in the most disadvantaged homes. The amount parents read to their children and the number of books at home makes a huge difference here. The quality of the relationship between parents and their babies also shapes children’s social and emotional development - their self-esteem and self-confidence - and their ability to build relationships with others.
These kinds of skills can affect how well children do at school and in the world of work, particularly in today’s service-driven economy
Children in this city can’t afford to play catch up for the rest of their lives, and our country can’t afford to pay the consequences either, not only in terms of higher unemployment rates and benefits but lost talent and skills. There’s nothing economically credible about ending up paying far more for problems that could have been prevented. And having a genuine long-term economic plan means prioritising the early years.
 
Under my leadership, the foundation years – zero to five – will be equal in importance and status as primary and secondary schools. That means far more than increasing the amount of childcare that’s available to help parents with young children go out to work – vital though this is.
It means midwives and health visitors helping parents understand the importance of reading, talking to and playing with their babies as well as their good health. It means drawing on the wealth of experience that many voluntary organisations have of working with parents in the most disadvantaged areas. It means transforming the status and quality of the entire early years workforce, and ensuring everyone with a responsibility for children – parents as well as professionals – really understands the importance of the early years.
Labour made a huge difference to children’s early years when we were in Government through Sure Start - one of our proudest achievements, which the Tories have shamefully neglected and undermined. But Sure Start Children’s Centres need to change to ensure an even more radical shift towards early intervention, tackle the root causes of problems, and give families the tools they need to give their children the best start in life, especially when resources are tight.
We need to get more from our Children’s Centres by opening them up other local family services like health and childcare, and by focusing far more on outreach so problems can be spotted early on. Cities like Manchester are already undertaking big reforms to Sure Start, and delivering big results even within tight resources.Under my leadership, early years will be a top priority, with a clear direction of travel for early years services, but what works best will be determined locally, not from Westminster, because that is where the knowledge and experience lies. 
I’ve said that re-establishing our reputation for economic credibility is a fundamental part of Labour being seen as fit to govern our country again. But believe me there is no economic credibility for our country if we don’t skill up our workforce in the 21st century
And that’s not just about what children learn in traditional lessons but about how we open minds and broaden horizons in schools.
One of the best days I’ve had since I became an MP was in Parks Primary in my constituency. The Head, Mrs Evans, and her team had brought people with all different types of jobs and careers into the school to talk to the children about the amazing opportunities that are out there if they work hard and do well at school. They call it ‘Aspirations week’. In Westminster, talking about aspiration can sound hollow. At Parks Primary, ‘aspiration’ really means something.
It means four year olds bandaging cuddly toys because they’re learning what it means to be a vet. It means young boys being mesmerised by a man making delicious chocolates, and telling them how he loved running his own small business. It means a woman engineer telling an enthralled group of 10 years olds about building tunnels in Australia, with her plans, pictures and hard hat. And it means a young girl telling me that if she wants to be an engineer herself, she’d better work harder at maths.
Mrs Evans and her teachers go the extra mile to contact everyone they knew with an interesting job to inspire their pupils. They know that if they don’t show all their kids what education made possible, the same way some parents do, they might get left behind.
Making sure children from all backgrounds learn about opportunities that are usually available to a few, is an inspiring vision of what our schools can be. That means ensuring there is strong leadership and great teachers, particularly in the most deprived areas.
It means being as demanding about maximising the potential of the A grade student who is taking their exams early, as the child who might just be able to get the grades they need to earn an apprenticeship if they give it their all. It means stretching and supporting children with special educational needs, autism and physical and learning disabilities – and offering fair access to the curriculum to children with dyslexia and children who are excluded who must never be forgotten.
It means asking even more of our teachers, but never forgetting the amazing contribution so many of them make - and never denigrating them for a cheap headline, as David Cameron shamefully allowed Michael Gove to do for four years.
And it means backing the inspiring innovations in schools like Parks Primary to teach girls and boys – particularly from white working class communities - about the chances in life they may not even know exist - like being an engineer, a chemist, and even leader of the Labour Party.
And we don’t have to wait to make that start. Usually oppositions can only criticise, not act.
But this is an issue we in the Labour party can do something about right now. I want to see businesses, charities, universities, volunteers and parents play a bigger role in helping to raise standards and achievement.
I want every Labour Council to lead a revolution in opening horizons for pupils and making better educational chances everyone’s business. The Labour party I lead won’t use opposition as an excuse for inaction but as a spur to find new ways to improve the lives of the people we seek to serve.

So as Labour leader, I will launch an “Inspiring the future” project, bringing together businesses, voluntary and community activists and union members, to encourage them go into state schools and show how education can transform children’s lives.
It will be a programme independent of our party, and open to all, but run according to our values - that by the strength of our common endeavour we can achieve much more than we achieve alone. As Leader, I’ll volunteer too, going to state schools across England, bringing with me successful people from all backgrounds to tell children how education helped us, and how it can help them too.
All too often the Labour Party is about delivering leaflets, knocking on doors and attending meetings. But we can be so much more than that. We may not be in power nationally, but we do have the power to show people that our politics can transform their lives. The party I lead will also work to rebuild and renew our communities through the strength of our common endeavour.

I’ll never forget the debt that I owe my parents, the teachers who guided me, and university lecturers who inspired me.
I also know that I owe so much to the opportunities Labour governments created in the decades before I was born – from the National Health Service which took care of my family, to the state school that taught me success was about what was in your head not in your wallet.
So many of the opportunities I’ve enjoyed and the chances I’ve been able to take, I owe to our party and to the brilliant and visionary people who have gone before me. They understood that fulfilling your potential should never be dependent on where you’re born, what your parents did, your gender, sexuality or the colour of skin.
We must end the scourge of illiteracy and innumeracy, broaden the horizons of our young people and give everyone a better chance in life. Under my leadership, Labour will do just that.
So my approach to building a fairer Britain - and reducing the crippling inequality that shames our nation and holds it back - will be rooted in transforming the life chances of all our children; by backing our teachers and parents but challenging them too. And our economic credibility will be based on having a plan that starts before children are born and follows them through the ups and downs of their lives.
And it will be based on a simple truth - that a Labour Party that isn’t talking about education and social mobility has forgotten what it exists for.

 
The Labour Party I lead will always remember its purpose. And we will act on it. Starting from day one.
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Former Irish premier John Bruton on Brexit: "Britain should pay for our border checks"

The former Taoiseach says Brexit has been interpreted as "a profoundly unfriendly act"

At Kapıkule, on the Turkish border with Bulgaria, the queue of lorries awaiting clearance to enter European Union territory can extend as long as 17km. Despite Turkey’s customs union for goods with the bloc, hauliers can spend up to 30 hours clearing a series of demanding administrative hoops. This is the nightmare keeping former Irish premier John Bruton up at night. Only this time, it's the post-Brexit border between Northern Ireland and the Republic, and it's much, much worse.   

Bruton (pictured below), Taoiseach between 1994 and 1997, is an ardent pro-European and was historically so sympathetic to Britain that, while in office, he was pilloried as "John Unionist" by his rivals. But he believes, should she continue her push for a hard Brexit, that Theresa May's promise for a “seamless, frictionless border” is unattainable. 

"A good example of the sort of thing that might arise is what’s happening on the Turkish-Bulgarian border," the former leader of Ireland's centre-right Fine Gael party told me. “The situation would be more severe in Ireland, because the UK proposes to leave the customs union as well."

The outlook for Ireland looks grim – and a world away from the dynamism of the Celtic Tiger days Bruton’s coalition government helped usher in. “There will be all sorts of problems," he said. "Separate permits for truck drivers operating across two jurisdictions, people having to pay for the right to use foreign roads, and a whole range of other issues.” 

Last week, an anti-Brexit protest on the border in Killeen, County Louth, saw mock customs checks bring traffic to a near standstill. But, so far, the discussion around what the future looks like for the 260 border crossings has focused predominantly on its potential effects on Ulster’s fragile peace. Last week Bruton’s successor as Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, warned “any sort of physical border” would be “bad for the peace process”. 

Bruton does not disagree, and is concerned by what the UK’s withdrawal from the European Convention on Human Rights might mean for the Good Friday Agreement. But he believes the preoccupation with the legacy of violence has distracted British policymakers from the potentially devastating economic impact of Brexit. “I don’t believe that any serious thought was given to the wider impact on the economy of the two islands as a whole," he said. 

The collapse in the pound has already hit Irish exporters, for whom British sales are worth £15bn. Businesses that work across the border could yet face the crippling expense of duplicating their operations after the UK leaves the customs union and single market. This, he says, will “radically disturb” Ireland’s agriculture and food-processing industries – 55 per cent of whose products are sold to the UK. A transitional deal will "anaesthetise" people to the real impact, he says, but when it comes, it will be a more seismic change than many in London are expecting. He even believes it would be “logical” for the UK to cover the Irish government’s costs as it builds new infrastructure and employs new customs officials to deal with the new reality.

Despite his past support for Britain, the government's push for a hard Brexit has clearly tested Bruton's patience. “We’re attempting to unravel more than 40 years of joint work, joint rule-making, to create the largest multinational market in the world," he said. It is not just Bruton who is frustrated. The British decision to "tear that up", he said, "is regarded, particularly by people in Ireland, as a profoundly unfriendly act towards neighbours".

Nor does he think Leave campaigners, among them the former Northern Ireland secretary Theresa Villiers, gave due attention to the issue during the campaign. “The assurances that were given were of the nature of: ‘Well, it’ll be alright on the night!’," he said. "As if the Brexit advocates were in a position to give any assurances on that point.” 

Indeed, some of the more blimpish elements of the British right believe Ireland, wedded to its low corporate tax rates and east-west trade, would sooner follow its neighbour out of the EU than endure the disruption. Recent polling shows they are likely mistaken: some 80 per cent of Irish voters say they would vote to remain in an EU referendum.

Irexit remains a fringe cause and Bruton believes, post-Brexit, Dublin will have no choice but to align itself more closely with the EU27. “The UK is walking away,” he said. “This shift has been imposed upon us by our neighbour. Ireland will have to do the best it can: any EU without Britain is a more difficult EU for Ireland.” 

May, he says, has exacerbated those difficulties. Her appointment of her ally James Brokenshire as secretary of state for Northern Ireland was interpreted as a sign she understood the role’s strategic importance. But Bruton doubts Ireland has figured much in her biggest decisions on Brexit: “I don’t think serious thought was given to this before her conference speech, which insisted on immigration controls and on no jurisdiction for the European Court of Justice. Those two decisions essentially removed the possibility for Ireland and Britain to work together as part of the EEA or customs union – and were not even necessitated by the referendum decision.”

There are several avenues for Britain if it wants to avert the “voluntary injury” it looks set to inflict to Ireland’s economy and its own. One, which Bruton concedes is unlikely, is staying in the single market. He dismisses as “fanciful” the suggestions that Northern Ireland alone could negotiate European Economic Area membership, while a poll on Irish reunification is "only marginally" more likely. 

The other is a variation on the Remoaners’ favourite - a second referendum should Britain look set to crash out on World Trade Organisation terms without a satisfactory deal. “I don’t think a second referendum is going to be accepted by anybody at this stage. It is going to take a number of years,” he said. “I would like to see the negotiation proceed and for the European Union to keep the option of UK membership on 2015 terms on the table. It would be the best available alternative to an agreed outcome.” 

As things stand, however, Bruton is unambiguous. Brexit means the Northern Irish border will change for the worse. “That’s just inherent in the decision the UK electorate was invited to take, and took – or rather, the UK government took in interpreting the referendum.”