THE SNP have insisted Labour’s new shadow work and pensions secretary must clarify the party’s position on “cruel” Tory social security policies after a series of U-turns by Keir Starmer.

MP David Linden has written to Labour’s Liz Kendall highlighting the party’s “attempts to appeal to Conservative voters” including their refusal to abolish the two-child benefit cap and their rejection of devolving employment law.

Linden, SNP social justice spokesperson, said in his letter that he was "concerned that under Sir Keir Starmer's leadership, the Labour party is intent on mirroring current Tory Government policies that risk imposing real harm on people who interact with the UK's social security system”.

He said: “Doubling down on policies such as the two-child cap and associated rape clause; refusing to commit to abolishing the Tory bedroom tax; committing to a pro-Brexit policy position; and ruling out the devolution of employment law are all policies that bring the Labour party ever closer to the current Conservative Government's position.

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“I know that you will be aware of the devastating impact that the ongoing cost of living crisis is having on our constituents.

“Far too many people having to make difficult financial decisions when faced with skyrocketing bills. Now more than ever it is important to tackle poverty in our communities and support people within them.

“I would appreciate if you could clarify your position on each of the aforementioned policy areas and whether you believe that Labour's current social security commitments are adequate in relieving people from poverty and financial hardship?”

Linden dubbed Labour's shadow cabinet reshuffle earlier this month as "Blairism on steroids", adding that it contained so many supporters of former Prime Minister Tony Blair that he'd "be surprised if we are not invading Iraq by tea time". 

Kendall – Labour MP for Leicester West – replaced Jon Ashworth as shadow work and pensions secretary but the appointment has been contentious.

In 2015 she told the Mail on Sunday that Ed Miliband was to blame for the loss of the previous election,  saying: “We said a lot about the very poor, but too little about the middle classes. We have to help both.”

When Kendall ran for Labour leader in 2015 against Jeremy Corbyn, she finished in last place with just 4.5% of the vote. She was the only candidate to back acting leader Harriet Harman’s decision not to oppose welfare cuts made by the Conservative government.