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Umunna admits 'tension' between Labour members & MPs

Labour shadow minister Chuka Umunna has said there is “tension” between the Labour party membership and the parliamentary party under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn.

Speaking on ITV's The Agenda, he acknowledged that Mr Corbyn has enthused many party members.

However, he said the party's MPs - some of whom are markedly more centrist than their leader - represent a much larger section of the electorate.

If you look at the research on things like Trident, the parliamentary party would be closer to the views of the voters than the members and there's that tension.

– Chuka Umunna

Mr Umunna, who previously stood for the party leadership, also refused to rule out running again.

"I would said I would never say never," he said, while adding that at the moment the question did not arise as there is no vacancy.

Watch in full on The Agenda on ITV at 10.40pm tonight.

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Big name Labour MPs 'escape before Corbyn speech'

Chuka Umunna is among the big name Labour MPs who have left Brighton before Jeremy Corbyn makes his first conference speech as party leader.

ITV News' Chris Ship said Tristram Hunt and Mary Creagh were also among the prominent backbenchers who departed early.

Chuka Umunna has not stuck around for the party's new leader. Credit: PA Wire

Chuka Umunna: Strike reforms are a 'gagging bill'

Labour’s shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna has described the government's trade union reform plans as " the latest in a long line of attempts to stifle reasonable democratic scrutiny, protest and challenge".

He said: "The bill tries to drive a false wedge between government, industry, employees and the public by restricting rights – and at worst criminalising – ordinary working people, from midwives to factory workers to challenge low-pay or health and safety concerns.

“After muzzling charities and restricting access to justice this is the latest attempt to silence critics of this government and its policies.”

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Umunna: 50p tax rate 'should be temporary'

A new 50p top rate of income tax for high earners proposed by Labour should only be a temporary measure, Chuka Umunna said.

Chuka Umunna at The Tetley Gallery in Leeds where Labour's launch of its campaign. Credit: Lynne Cameron / PA

Labour is committed to reintroducing the higher charge on those earning over £150,000 that was ditched by the coalition Government. But the shadow business secretary said how long to sustain the measure should be a purely economic decision and not a moral one.

He told the New Statesman magazine:

I wouldn't want to do it permanently because ... I would like to see the tax burden as low as possible. I don't believe that you tax for the sake of taxing: you tax to fund public services and, currently, to reduce our deficit and our debt.

Balls to blast Tories over 'damaging' EU exit hints

A British exit from the European Union is the greatest threat facing the country's economy in the next decade, Ed Balls will say as he attacks Conservative ministers for creating uncertainty for the country's businesses.

The shadow chancellor will acknowledge the need for reform of the EU but will hit out at David Cameron's policy of offering an in/out referendum, warning the Tories are "flirting with exit" for narrow political party interests.

Labour frontbenchers Mr Balls and Chuka Umunna will address the British Chambers of Commerce annual conference and stress the party's pro-business agenda following a string of attacks from senior corporate figures in recent days.

Mr Balls is expected to say:

Because Britain walking out of the EU is the biggest risk to our economy in the next decade. EU exit risks British jobs, trade and investment and the future prosperity of the UK. And every comment by senior Cabinet ministers saying they would be happy or relaxed to see us walk out, and every hint that a referendum could happen as early as next year - before any meaningful reform agenda could be achieved - only adds to the uncertainty and risk for British businesses.

– Ed Balls
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