Express & Star

People are sick of gimmicks, says Labour's rising star during Wolverhampton visit

Labour rising star Louise Haigh braved the rain to launch the party's six crucial priorities in the West Midlands.

Shadow transport secretary Louise Haigh addresses supporters in Wolverhampton

The shadow transport secretary was in Wolverhampton to promote the party's 'first steps for change' a list of six main priority areas that will form the cornerstone of its manifesto for the next General Election.

Arriving in the city's Queen Square later than scheduled, she joked that this was becoming something of a habit due to the unreliable train service.

Councillor Stephen Simkins, leader of Wolverhampton Council, parliamentary candidates Warrinder Juss and Julia Buckley, and former Wolverhampton South West MP Rob Marris were among the party members who turned out to meet her.

She said: "In places like Wolverhampton, people have had enough of gimmicks, had enough of sticking plasters, had enough of broken promises and headline-grabbing policies that make no difference to people's lives."

Shadow transport secretary Louise Haigh addresses supporters in Wolverhampton

The party's six 'key steps' were: 'delivering economic stability with tough spending rules', cutting NHS waiting times, launching its new border security command, setting up a public owned power company, a crackdown on anti-social behaviour, and recruiting 6,500 new teachers.

Miss Haigh said the company's publicly funded energy company, Great British Energy, would provide a green competitor to the existing private energy companies. She said it would be funded by a windfall tax on existing energy companies, and would require no further subsidies from the public purse.

"We've also set out plans to borrow to invest, over a 10-year period, to allow us to invest in hydrogen, offshore wind, onshore wind, solar, right across the country in order to lower bills and secure our energy supply," she said. Small nuclear reactors would also form part of the plan, she added.

Meanwhile, Wolverhampton South East MP Pat McFadden said the only way Labour would win a general election was by 'appealing to people who haven’t traditionally voted' for the party when asked why the party had welcomed former Tory right-winger Natalie Elphicke to its ranks, while leaving Diane Abbott without the party whip.