POLITICS

Jeremy Corbyn Denies Saying He Would Revive Clause IV

09/08/2015 15:49 BST | Updated 09/08/2015 16:59 BST

Jeremy Corbyn has denied reports he wanted to return Labour to a cornerstone of its socialist past that it abandoned under Tony Blair.

According to The Independent on Sunday, the left-wing front runner for the party leadership signalled that he could restore Clause IV of the party's constitution which committed it to "common ownership of the means of production".

The highly symbolic move was widely seen as a key moment in Mr Blair's leadership, helping to convince voters that the party could be trusted again in government after the wilderness years of the 1980s.

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Jeremy Corbyn has denied he would bring back the controversial Clause IV

According to the paper, Mr Corbyn suggested he could consider bringing back the original Clause IV as part of a commitment to take back some "necessary things" into public ownership.

"I think we should talk about what the objectives of the party are, whether that's restoring the Clause IV as it was originally written or it's a different one, but I think we shouldn't shy away from public participation, public investment in industry and public control of the railways," he told the paper.

"I'm interested in the idea that we have a more inclusive, clearer set of objectives. I would want us to have a set of objectives which does include public ownership of some necessary things such as rail."

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But a spokesperson for Mr Corbyn moved to deny the interpretation that he wanted to bring Clause IV back.

They told HuffPost UK: "Jeremy is not saying he wants to return to the old clause IV, nor does he want a big 'moment' such as that. His leadership would be the opposite of top-down changes.

"He says we need some forms of public ownership in some cases, such as rail, on which matter Labour needs to reflect more closely the views of the majority of the public."

Restoring Clause IV would be every bit as symbolic as Mr Blair's original decision, marking a final break with the New Labour era.

Liz Kendall - the leadership challenger seen as being the closest to Mr Blair's policies - fiercely condemned the idea as a throwback to the failed ideas of leftwingers like the late Tony Benn.

"This shows there is nothing new about Jeremy Corbyn's politics. It is just Bennism reheated, a throwback to the past, not the change we need for our party or our country," she said.

"Life had moved on from the old Clause IV in 1994 let alone 2015. We are a party of the future not a preservation society."

With Mr Corbyn's campaign continuing to gather momentum, the Labour supporting Sunday People has come out in favour of shadow health secretary Andy Burnham in the leadership contest as the one candidate capable of stopping him.


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