Labour leadership candidate Andy Burnham has been accused of backpedalling over policies to make his party more “business-friendly”.
Speaking at a rally earlier this week, the Shadow Health Secretary said that Labour should not be afraid to advocate raising taxes for the richest in Britain.
“Why don’t we bring down the deficit by asking people who can to pay more tax,” he said.
He also reiterated his support for reinstating the 50p top rate of income tax, which was scrapped by Chancellor George Osborne two years ago.
But opponents have criticised Mr Burnham for changing tack and claim that his latest comments are aimed at wooing back those who have thrown their support behind veteran leftwinger Jeremy Corbyn – who is thought to be on course to win the contest.
The MP’s stance is a sharp contrast to comments earlier in the contest, when he claimed that a “politics of envy” may have alienated potential voters during this year’s General Election.
Addressing business leaders in May, he said: “I want this message to go out loud and clear today: Labour must always champion wealth creation, and show we understand that if we want high-skill, high-wage jobs then we have to support the businesses that create them.”
Although Mr Burnham has denied claims that he has changed course, arguing that Labour could demonstrate its commitment to businesses while still supporting increased taxes for those who can afford them.