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Harman insists Labour will be a 'vocal' opposition

Acting Labour leader Harriet Harman has been responding to the Queen's Speech. Credit: Dan Kitwood / PA Wire/PA Images

Acting Labour leader Harriet Harman has said Labour will not hesitate to hold the Government to account if it does not act in the country's best interests, as she responded to the Queen's Speech.

Ms Harman joked she shared the status of "interim leader" with David Cameron but congratulated him on returning to the Commons as Prime Minister.

She insisted that her party will be "a determined, forensic and vocal opposition".

Where you act in the interests of the country, we will support the Government. When you don't, we will not hesitate to be a determined, forensic and vocal opposition and that is what every one of our 232 Labour MPs will do.

Britain faces a fragile future - for our economy, our constitution and our public services.

Although we are seeing economic growth return, its benefits are not being shared and the economy remains fragile.

Compared to other countries, Britain's productivity lags behind. Tax revenues have fallen short of where the Government said in 2010 that they would be now, meaning it's taking longer to reduce the deficit.

Britain cannot succeed by low skilled, low wage, insecure employment with a race to the bottom. The path to economic prosperity and recovery must be with a high skilled, long term approach.

But our productivity is being held back by a lack of investment in training, infrastructure and industry.

– Harriet Harman

Harriet Harman: We fear 'the reality' of Queen's Speech

Harriet Harman, the acting Labour leader, has said that the party fears that "the reality of this Queen's Speech will be very different from the rhetoric".

Harriet Harman, the acting Labour leader. Credit: PA Wire

Harriet Harman warned that "the Queen's Speech will talk of a 'One Nation approach' - yet [David] Cameron sets the nations of the country against each other".

"The Queen's Speech will talk of helping 'working people' - yet Cameron threatens basic rights at work.

"The real question for this Queen's Speech will be whether it improves our country, our communities and people."

Yvette Cooper: UK needs free childcare for all

Labour leadership candidate Yvette Cooper wants to adopt Scandinavian-style system of universal childcare, with 30 hours of free care for all preschool children over the age of two.

Writing in The Independent, Ms Cooper said she wanted to see new tax credits to help parents out in the period after maternity leave finishes, and that the pledge would be a cornerstone of her leadership campaign.

She said: "We should campaign for universal childcare - as other countries, including Scandinavia, have.

"That means breakfast clubs, after-school clubs, holiday clubs and free nursery places and childcare available full-time, not just for three and four-year-olds but two-year-olds too."

Yvette Cooper visits a primary school Credit: Rui Vieira / PA Wire


John Prescott backs Andy Burnham for Labour leader

Former deputy prime minister John Prescott has thrown his support behind Andy Burnham in the race to replace Ed Miliband as Labour leader and compared the former health secretary to former Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Lord Prescott said he supports Andy Burnham's bid to become Labour leader. Credit: Stefan Rousseau / PA Archive/PA Images

Lord Prescott said Mr Burnham showed many of the "skills and qualities" demonstrated by Mr Blair.

In his Sunday Mirror column Lord Prescott said: "Before Tony became our leader, he spent 11 years as an MP. In that time he learned his brief, gained the -experience, handled the media and won the public's trust with an overwhelming landslide.

"I have seen a lot of those skills and -qualities in Andy Burnham during his 13 years as an MP. Many people talk about aspiration but Andy is a living example - a working class lad from Liverpool who went to a -comprehensive and got a place at Cambridge University."

He added: "Andy also has that one thing all leaders crave - the common touch. I've seen him in small groups and big meetings.

"People instantly warm to the guy. He's a family man who loves his football. He's not just faking it like Cameron to be popular...

"Tony was a winner. We now need someone who can earn the trust of the public and has an insatiable desire to help everyone get on in life."

Cooper: Labour 'have to face some hard truths'

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper has admitted her party needs to "face some hard truths" if they want to become electable in future.

Yvette Cooper, Labour's shadow home secretary Credit: PA Wire

Writing in a blog for The Huffington Post, Cooper said: "Bluntly, not enough people trusted us with their future. Not enough people were convinced we could do the job.

"The mountain we now have to climb is high."

The Labour leadership contender also warned her party against swinging too far to the left or right in its bid to win back voters stating "that's no good for Labour, for Britain or for those who depend on progressive change. We can't fight and win by remaining a narrow party, we have to reach out."

Cooper slams Government's immigration plans

Yvette Cooper, the shadow home secretary and Labour leadership contender, has accused David Cameron of "taking people for fools" after new figures showed a significant increase in net migration to the UK.

Yvette Cooper, Labour's shadow home secretary. Credit: PA Wire

Ms Cooper said there was a "massive gap" between the government's "rhetoric" on immigration and the "reality".

She said: “David Cameron is taking people for fools. On the day he has promised yet again to cut net migration to the tens of thousands, these figures show it is over three times that target.

"This massive gap between rhetoric and reality, between promise and delivery, just destroys trust in anything Ministers say on immigration."

'Most' Labour MPs have made up their minds on leader

Tristram Hunt is backing Liz Kendall Credit: REUTERS/Paul Hackett

Most Labour MPs already know who they want as leader, according to Tristram Hunt, who has just announced he would not be standing.

In a speech setting out his vision for the party, he admitted he hadn't been able to drum up enough support for his own bid

"Like other potential candidates in recent days I have made a lot of calls to potential supporters among my parliamentary colleagues. I found that the bulk of MPs are already committed to just a couple of candidates," he said.

"It is surprising that the nomination process to select a leader for at least the next five years appears to have been largely decided within at most five days of a devastating general election defeat."

The MPs currently still in the race to become leader are Liz Kendall, Yvette Cooper, Andy Burnham, and Mary Creagh.

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