Not just the Ed Stone…
So Labour leadership frontrunner Jeremy Corbyn today said he’d issue a public apology on behalf of Labour over the Iraq War if he becomes leader.
“It is past time that Labour apologised to the British people for taking them into the Iraq War on the basis of deception and to the Iraqi people for the suffering we have helped cause. Under our Labour, we will make this apology,” he told the Guardian.
If Corbyn or any other Labour members want to apologise for other mistakes the party has made, we’ve prepared a list from them.
Immigration has never been Labour’s strong point. Back in 2013, former home secretary Jack Straw admitted that the Labour government made a “spectacular mistake” by opening Britain’s borders to Eastern European migrants.
In a column for local newspaper the Lancashire Telegraph, Straw said: “One spectacular mistake in which I participated (not alone) was in lifting the transitional restrictions on the Eastern European states like Poland and Hungary which joined the EU in mid-2004.
“Other existing EU members, notably France and Germany, decided to stick to the general rule which prevented migrants from these new states from working until 2011.
“But we thought that it would be good for Britain if these folk could come and work here from 2004.”
It’s not just Cameron and Osborne who have lambasted the last Labour government for its overspending, many Labour bigshots have criticised their own party for giving Britain its largest deficit in British history.
Last month, Labour leadership contender Andy Burnham said the party should apologise for overspending before the credit crunch.
Burnham told BBC2’s Victoria Derbyshire programme: “I don’t think we can win back people’s trust if we say we did everything right on the economy all those years. We did fix the roof when the sun was shining. But the deficit was too high when the crash came. I know that because I was chief secretary to the Treasury in 2007, Alistair Darling said the deficit is too high and we needed to bring it back down.
“If you are honest about your mistakes then I think people will begin to listen to you, and then [you] regain their trust and credibility.”
Copious amount of column inches and research have been devoted to scrutinising Labour’s failure at addressing inequality.
Last year, Labour mayoral candidate Sadiq Khan said that the gap between richest and poorest increased manifold under the last Labour government.
Khan said: “Over 13 years of government, we did many amazing things – from the national minimum wage to investing in education – but we also have to have the humility to admit that we weren’t able to do enough to tackle rising inequality – and that it continued to rise under our watch.”
4. Social Housing failure
Under Tony Blair’s government, 6,330 council houses were completed from 1998 to 2010, compared with 17,710 under Thatcher in 1990.
However, under the Labour party in 2004, only 130 council homes were completed.
In 2013, Labour’s own social housing spokesperson Tom Copley called for the party to apologise for its inefficiency at building social housing.
He said: “As a Labour politician one of the things that really galls me is that there’s this statistic that more council homes were built in the last year of Thatcher’s government than were built in the 13 years of Labour government, and that’s something I think as a Labour Party we need to apologise for.”
5. Gold sell-off
Gordon Brown didn’t exactly strike gold with his gold sell-off during his term as Britain’s prime minister.
Between July 1999 and March 2002, Gordon Brown sold off over 395 tonnes of Britain’s gold bullion. The amount sold accounted for about 58% of the government’s total reserves of 715 tonnes.
At the time, gold prices were at a 20-year low. But after the sale, prices almost quadrupled.
The sell-off is regarded as one of the Treasury’s worst financial mistakes that cost taxpayers almost £7bn.