James Forsyth James Forsyth

Chuka Umunna: the last disciple of New Labour’s third way

Chuka Umunna is the last disciple of the third way standing. At a Times fringe earlier, he was full of praise for centre-left European reformers such as the Italian PM Matteo Renzi and French PM Manuel Valls. Indeed, when Umunna spoke approvingly of the battle that Valls is having with his own party one sensed that it was something that Umunna would like to do himself.

Umunna sought to portray himself as the reasonable outsider. He said that the biggest challenge in politics was to make compromise fashionable again. He urged the Labour party to embrace entrepreneurs and his tone about business and technology was unremittingly hopeful. His desire to command as much political space as possible was reminiscent of New Labour in its pomp.

There was no hint of disloyalty in what Umunna said. But his warning that the party must have broad appeal and a big tent does show him to be very different from those in the shadow Cabinet who believe that the most effective route to victory is to enthuse and turn out the Labour base.

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