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RICHARD BURGON vowed today to “hardwire” public ownership of services into Labour’s constitution if he becomes the party’s deputy leader.
The shadow justice secretary said that Labour needs a new clause four fit for the 21st century, after the public ownership commitment was scrapped during the reign of Tony Blair.
Before the government’s expected decision to bring the Northern rail franchise back into public hands, Mr Burgon said that he would ensure Labour’s current commitment to public ownership of major public utilities and services, including the railways, becomes permanent.
Mr Burgon would establish a working group to propose new policy wording on public ownership which would be debated at the party’s annual conference.
He said that the reform would show clear desire to keep the socialist ambition for public ownership in the party’s constitution.
Preventing the pursuit of privatisation policies that have seen the party implicated in the disasters of PFI and privatisation of the NHS would also be included.
Mr Burgon said in a statement: “Public ownership is popular and we need to stay in tune with voters who are sick of being ripped off by private companies which treat public services as nothing more than cash cows.
“Public ownership needs to be the cornerstone of our party’s policy making.”
Labour veteran Dennis Skinner, who was Bolsover’s MP for almost 40 years until the last general election, endorsed Mr Burgon today.
Mr Skinner said: “I’m backing Richard to be deputy leader of the Labour Party.
“Richard is a socialist who never gives in and never gives up. He gives me hope for the future of our party.
“I urge CLPs and unions to nominate Richard and members to vote for him.”
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