Labour leadership candidates: where they stand

Where the five Labour leadership candidates stand on Iraq, spending cuts, immigration, electoral ref

Diane Abbott

Diane Abbott

Electoral Reform

Opposed to proportional representation as it would involve candidates being appointed from the centre and would break the constituency link. Supports the introduction of the Alternative Vote (AV).

Immigration

Britain must maintain an open immigration policy. Anger over immigration is often a proxy for working-class concern over a lack of jobs and affordable housing. The Labour movement must address these issues rather than pandering to right-wing xenophobia.

Iraq War

Opposed the war on principle and voted against it. If Labour fails to address the issues raised by the illegal invasion it will lose the next election.

Spending Cuts

Argues that Labour should consider increasing taxation on high earners as an alternative to dramatic cuts in public spending. But has cited Trident and the Afghanistan war as examples of cuts she would make.

Trident

Trident has no practical purpose and is maintained merely to avoid the charge that Labour is "soft" on defence. It is not the weapon we need for the challenges and wars ahead and is wholly reliant on US technology. Britain cannot persuasively argue for arms reduction if it insists on clinging on to its own nuclear deterrent.

Ed Balls

Ed Balls

Electoral Reform

Supports AV but opposes proportional representation as it would break the constituency link and would institutionalise hung parliaments.

Immigration

Labour successfully controlled immigration from outside of the European Union but should have imposed transitional controls on immigration from Eastern Europe. The pace of immigration was too much for some low-skilled and low-income communities to bear.

Iraq War

Would have voted for the war had he been an MP in 2003. Now believes that Britain made the wrong judgement and lacked the evidence needed to justify an invasion.

Spending Cuts

Balls has argued that Labour was wrong to pledge to halve the deficit by 2014 on the grounds that the cuts to public services would have been too great.

Has criticised the coalition's decision to cut spending this year as economically illiterate, warning that it risks triggering a double-dip recession, and has urged Labour to mount an unambiguous defence of a universal welfare state.

Trident

Supports the renewal of Trident and argues that Britain would not strengthen its position in multilateral talks or in dealing with the Middle East by unilaterally disarming.

Andy Burnham

Andy Burnham

Electoral Reform

Burnham admits that there are severe weaknesses to first-past-the-post but argues that Labour should be wary of "rushing headlong" towards the alternative vote. Has said that Labour should only support AV if it is in the long-term interests of the party.

Immigration

Labour has a dangerous tendency not to talk about immigration, leaving a vacuum for others to exploit. In many parts of the country immigration was the biggest election issue.

Disagrees with Ed Balls and believes that it is essential to maintain the free movement of labour within the European Union. The best way to address concern over immigration is to resolve issues such as the status of agency workers.

Iraq War

Voted for the war and continues to stand by that decision. The issues of weapons of mass destruction and human rights were intrinsically linked; the only way Saddam maintained his iron grip on the country was through the pretence that he had WMD.

Spending Cuts

Opposes the coalition's decision to ring-fence health spending on the grounds that this will damage other services "beyond repair". Has called for Labour to reject cuts that damage the potential for growth and that limit the life chances of young people, such as cuts to university spending.

Trident

In an uncertain world it would be irresponsible for Britain to abandon its nuclear deterrent. But the government should explore the possibility of greater co-operation with France and other nuclear states.

David Miliband

David Miliband

Electoral Reform

Supports the alternative vote because it retains single-member constituencies and ensures that all MPs are elected with at least 50 per cent of the vote.

Immigration

Immigration was a real election issue but it must be understood as one of fairness, not of race. There are real fairness issues over the allocation of social housing, the regulation of the labour market and public services.

Iraq War

Argues that there was a clear case for invading Iraq based on the many resolutions passed by the UN demanding full compliance by Saddam Hussain. But had Miliband known at the time that there were no weapons of mass destruction he would not have voted for the war.

Believes that the next seven years in Iraq will determine history's judgement on the war. There is now a chance that the Middle East will have only its third reasonably democratic regime.

Spending Cuts

Miliband's deficit reduction plan envisages a 2:1 ratio of spending cuts to tax rises, rather than the 4:1 split favoured by the government.

Has proposed ending charitable status for private schools rather than "taking money from the poorest children".

Trident

Britain is fulfilling its obligations under the non-proliferation treaty and has reduced its nuclear stockpiles by two-thirds since the end of the Cold War. Scrapping Trident now would prevent Britain from aiding multilateral negotiations in the future.

Ed Miliband

Ed Miliband

Electoral Reform

Has praised the coalition's decision to hold a referendum on the alternative vote and will campaign in favour of a "yes" vote.

Immigration

Labour must look beyond the symptoms and address the causes of fear over immigration. It would be dangerous and wrong to call for an end to the free movement of labour within the European Union.

Iraq War

Believes the weapons inspectors should have been given more time in order to reflect the belief that war should always be a last resort. Would have voted against the war had he been an MP.

Spending Cuts

Miliband has called for a 50:50 ratio of spending cuts to tax rises, rather than the 67:33 split favoured by Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling. Argues that it was not the irresponsibility of the government that created the deficit but the irresponsibility of the financial services industry.

Trident

Supports the retention of an independent nuclear deterrent but believes moves towards multilateral disarmament should be encouraged.

Has called for the government to examine both the pace and the necessity of the renewal of Trident. Britain should have the minimal possible deterrent required to maintain security.