The public are entitled to know Labour’s true intentions


The general election is still more than a fortnight away, which is plenty of time for the Labour Party to let voters know precisely what is in store for them should it win power. Since the manifesto was published last week, it has become clearer than ever that it is the things it doesn’t say that will matter. Are party leaders seriously intending to spend the remainder of this protracted campaign ducking and weaving to avoid filling in the gaps?

Wes Streeting, the health spokesman, was the latest to do so. He was asked on several television outlets to rule out raising taxes not covered by Labour’s pledges and declined to do so.

Doubtless they hope the Euro football championship will act as a distraction from the questions they refuse to answer. Voters who have made up their minds to turf the Tories out will focus on other matters between now and July 4.

But while the opinion polls show Labour with a commanding lead, there are two factors that gain too little attention. First, support for Sir Keir Starmer’s party has been on the decline since the election was called. Second, there are still a large number of undecided voters who are evidently not immediately attracted to Labour’s programme and are waiting to make up their minds.

In order to do so, they need clarity from Labour about its true intentions. We have heard a lot about what the party would not do in government and precious little about what it would do. The so-called Ming-vase strategy is seen in political circles as a clever electoral wheeze (don’t trip up and drop the priceless object), but is in reality an insult to the electorate.

After 14 years of Conservative-led government, many voters may be tempted by Labour’s mantra “it’s time for change”. But they are entitled to know a change to what?