AN ex-Labour MP has accused the party of tailoring policy to the English middle-class and “abandoning everything they’ve ever stood for” in a damning verdict on Keir Starmer’s series of U-turns.

Les Huckfield – who was a member of the party for 40 years serving as an MP and MEP between 1967 and 1989 – said there was hardly a piece of Labour’s 2019 manifesto that remained in tact and argued Starmer’s current approach was going down “like a lead balloon” in Scotland.

He spoke to The National after shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves announced Labour were no longer going to commit to introducing a wealth tax despite previous pledges to do so.

Reeves also ruled out an increase to the top rate of income tax – something which was pledge number one in Starmer’s now-infamous “10 Pledges”.

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Both policies were promised in Scottish Labour's 2019 manifesto – though their 2021 manifesto only backed a tax rise on the highest incomes if necessary.

Huckfield (below) said an accumulation of U-turns from Starmer and the likes of Wes Streeting saying Labour would use private companies to tackle NHS waiting lists have left him at a loss as to what the party’s principles are.

He told The National: “I can no longer tell you – and I ought to be able to tell you as I feel I’m fairly well versed in politics – what the party stands for.

“If you add together the Wes Streeting stuff on involving the private sector and having a go at Sadiq Khan over Ulez [ultra-low emission zone], and lots of other bits and pieces, I can’t tell you what they stand for.

“The interesting thing is, I really don’t think the Starmer crowd understand at all that this goes down like a lead balloon in Scotland.

The National:

“When Michael Shanks [Labour’s by-election candidate in Rutherglen and Hamilton West] is in Rutherglen and Anas Sarwar says 'we’re talking about a fresh start', a fresh start to me seems to be that you abandon all you’ve ever stood for.

“It’s obviously tailored for an English, middle-class audience. I can’t imagine that it’s going to appeal to anyone in Scotland, particularly as  – and Starmer does not seem to realise this – there is another left-of-centre party in Scotland, namely the SNP.

“You can’t take away from the SNP that on child poverty, with the increased child allowance and the work to mitigate the bedroom tax, that that is well to the left of anything the Labour party now stands for.”

Huckfield, despite leaving the party in 2003, said he had a “small hand” in writing parts of the 2017 and 2019 Labour manifestos, contributing some content on worker co-operatives.

He said most of the 2019 manifesto had now disappeared.

“There’s hardly a single piece of that 2019 manifesto which is still in tact,” said Huckfield, who supports Scottish independence

“Almost daily now either Starmer or Reeves says ‘oh actually, we’re not going to do that anymore’.

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“Working people, particularly in Scotland, must be wondering what on earth Starmer stands for.”

Labour’s latest change of approach on a wealth tax comes after they abandoned the idea of ditching the two-child benefits cap – a move which appeared to cause division either side of the Border.

The party has faced huge questions over its new stance in Rutherglen and Hamilton West – a key seat Labour are hoping to win back from the SNP after the recall of Margaret Ferrier.

Shanks has said he would vote to abolish the two-child cap if he got the seat, but this was branded “not good enough” by First Minister Humza Yousaf, who pointed out Starmer would have to bring a vote on the issue for Shanks to go against it, which he has ruled out.

Huckfield said he had concerns about some of the candidates being selected by Labour, with their candidate in Mid-Bedfordshire – following the resignation of Nadine Dorries - being a Bank of England economist.

“Some of the people who get selected have no real background in politics,” said Huckfield.

“In my day, if you were a bus driver or a postie or train driver, that’s where Labour people came from.

“The person Starmer wants to stand in Nadine Dorries constituency is a Bank of England economist. How is that supposed to cut the ice in mid-Bedfordshire?”

The National has approached Scottish Labour for comment on Labour’s latest U-turn on a wealth tax but has not received a response yet.