​Labour must ’reset relationship with business’ - Yvette Cooper

Prospective Labour leader Yvette Cooper. (Reuters / Paul Hackett)
Labour has alienated the business sector in the past and must now build a positive relationship with it in order to carve a sustainable path forward, Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper says.

Cooper, who is reported as having secured between 50 and 100 leadership nominations, intervened in the race on Monday, speaking out in support of a Blairite-style relationship with business.

She argued that in the post-Miliband era her party must “reset our relationship with business around a shared vision for building an economy that faces the future.

READ MORE: Unite to desert Labour if party continues to ‘fail ordinary workers’

“Too often in the past our rhetoric undermined that positive relationship with business, and with the creation of jobs and wealth for the future,” she added.

People knew how we wanted to stop exploitation in the workplace, but not how we’d grow our workplaces to create more jobs and stronger growth.

They knew we wanted to stop consumers being ripped off, but weren’t convinced we also wanted businesses to grow and flourish. We can’t let that happen again.

Echoing the language of the free market, Cooper said, “Our rhetoric can’t be set against the wealth creators and drivers of our future economic growth.

Despite her comments, some senior Labour figures have suggested that Cooper and her leadership rival Andy Burnham are still mirroring too closely the politics of an older brand of Labour Party politics.

Labour peer Lord Hutton told the Guardian on Monday that “Labour is facing a very deep crisis and can no longer exist to appeal to a diminishing trade union vote.

We need a big debate we have been of deprived for the past five years and that requires more than two candidates. I have already said we need to skip a generation, and MPs have a duty to provide a real debate that it so badly needs,” he said.

READ MORE: Labour failed to offer anti-austerity alternative, says union boss

The prospect of a return to the days of unveiled commitment to business by Labour has also drawn fire from the political Left.

Speaking to the BBC on Sunday, Unite chief Len McCluskey warned that Labour must choose the right leader to replace Ed Miliband.

It is the challenge of the Labour party to demonstrate that they are the voice of ordinary working people, that they are the voice of organized labor,” he said.

If they do that in a way that enthuses us then I don’t believe that the mountain that is ahead of us is unclimbable. It’s up to them.

If they inject more disillusionment in the party then the pressure will grow from our members to rethink. It is certainly already growing in Scotland,” he stated.

McCluskey hinted that the union might reconsider its historical links to Labour if the next leader doesn’t champion the workers from which the party takes its name.