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Wes Streeting’s three-word formula for how Labour will govern

Wes Streeting has set out a three word vision of the guiding philosophy of a Labour government if, as expected, it wins power on 4 July.

The shadow health secretary had echoes of Tony Blair’s New Labour when he promised that his party would be “compensatory not confiscatory”.

Mr Streeting was in discussion with The Independent’s editor-in-chief Geordie Greig in front of an audience at the Hay Festival discussing the election, politics and his book One Boy, Two Bills and a Fry Up.

Mr Greig noted that the UK is now “in the foothills of an election campaign” and asked: “Where is Labour going to find out that common centre ground? What is the formula? What are the words?”

Shadow health secretary Wes Streeting has revealed how Labour plans to cut waiting lists (Jordan Pettitt/PA)
Shadow health secretary Wes Streeting has revealed how Labour plans to cut waiting lists (Jordan Pettitt/PA) (PA Wire)

Mr Streeting replied: “A Labour Party which wins a mandate to govern and govern well is compensatory not confiscatory.”

When pressed on what this means he insisted that it is one which celebrates success and encourages ambition and aspiration, although he denied that it is a version of “Toryism”.

The discussion had followed an in depth interview with The Independent where Mr Streeting had brandished his Blairite credentials insisting that he will not bow to junior doctor demands for a pay rise and taking on his critics in his own party from the left about including private health providers in the NHS to bring down waiting lists.

Before the election was called he had been actively involved in talks with potential defectors from the Tory party and had been one of the first to welcome rightwing Dover MP Natalie Elphicke to his party’s ranks.

Natalie Elphicke defection a ‘powerful endorsement’ of Labour, Streeting claims

He had also made it clear he is not in favour of “handouts” as a means to end poverty in opposing an end to the two child benefit cap even though in his book he described how he and his mother had survived on benefits.

But speaking at the Hay Festival he insisted that a Labour government would be about “rewarding people” who work hard.

He noted: “The anxiety about Labour governments and what traditionally stops people from voting Labour that we need to vote Labour to form a government is that in the pursuit of social justice and equality we will be anti success and if you are successful we will take from you and we will resent your success.Because that’s how you level the country and create equality.”

Taking this characterisation on, he said: “I think it has to be the other way round.”

Angela Rayner and me are working class success stories, Wes Streeting says

Going back to his life story in his autobiography, he said: “The thing that myself, Keir [Starmer], Angela [Rayner], Bridget Philipson and others around the shadow cabinet table have in common is through different routes – in my case the University of Cambridge, in Angela’s case the university of life and trade union movement – we’ve worked our way up and understand the barriers that are in the way of people from working class backgrounds like ours.

“We know that to build a successful country, you have to create a culture in which people can be successful to be successful, in which everyone has a stake in it, in which everyone makes a contribution.

“One where everyone derives a benefit through the provision of good public services, good social infrastructure, the right culture, the right leadership, and entrepreneurial country where business leaders can succeed, and why this country is a destination for global talent.”

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