Unison chief Prentis urges Labour to ‘focus on being electable’

26 Sep 16

Unison trade union leader Dave Prentis has today urged the Labour Party to stop “obsessing about rule changes and internal rows” and become focused on being electable so the party can “protect public services”.

Prentis was speaking after Jeremy Corbyn was re-elected as Labour leader at the weekend, after being challenged by Owen Smith, who questioned whether Corbyn could win an election. Addressing the Labour conference today, Prentis stressed the party could only help working people by being in government.

The Unison general secretary, whose union is the largest in the public sector, said members know the best public services are those delivered by them, direct to their communities.

“Privatisation has been an unmitigated disaster for service users, public sector workers and taxpayers. Outsourcing has doubled over the past five years and now stands at a record £128bn,” he told delegates. “Meanwhile the size of the state will shrink to levels not seen since the 1930s. Everything we stand for is at stake.

“We need a Labour party committed to a programme of stopping and reversing the failed experiment of privatisation.”
But implementation could only be achieved by winning the next general election, he added.

“The NHS, the minimum wage and maternity pay were all achieved, not by shouting loudly, but by winning elections. That’s vital if we’re to get the best public services.

“The last year has been a wasted one in many ways and we cannot afford another. If Labour is back here next year, obsessing about rule changes and internal rows, then it will have failed the British people.”

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