Rachel Reeves, the shadow secretary of work and pensions, has come under fire for comments about the welfare state and unemployed people.
In an interview with the Guardian, the Labour MP iterated her plans to change the attitudes of Jobcentre staff who seek to sanction claimants rather than trying to get them into work.
However, she came in for particular criticism for distancing Labour from the 5.1 million Britons who claim benefits:
We are not the party of people on benefits. We don’t want to be seen, and we’re not, the party to represent those who are out of work. Labour are a party of working people, formed for and by working people.
- Rachel Reeves, shadow secretary of state for work and pensions
In recent weeks Labour has slipped behind the Conservatives in the opinion polls for the first time in three years and the initial responses to Reeves's comments suggest that outlook won't be changing in the near future.