Labour bid to rebuild business ties
Labour is mounting a concerted campaign to rebuild relations with business in the wake of the party's shattering general election defeat.
Shadow chancellor Chris Leslie and shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna are to spend the summer touring firms around the country in a new charm campaign which recalls Labour's "prawn cocktail offensive" to win over business leaders in the 1990s.
The move will be seen as a recognition that its relations with business plunged to a low ebb under Ed Miliband who was accused of failing to understand the world of commerce.
The run-up to the election was marked by a series of damaging clashes with leading business figures - some of whom who had previously supported the party - who voiced concern at the prospect of a Labour government.
Mr Leslie said: "We want to be partners and not opponents of business. In the last parliament shadow cabinet ministers met hundreds of business leaders, from those running start-ups to SME owner-managers and City chief executives.
"But the disappointing election result for Labour rightly forces us to rethink how we build stronger relationships with the business community.
"We must do more to convince business that we want government to work in partnership and support enterprise - and I am determined Labour rises to this challenge straight away."
Mr Umunna added: "Despite having a large number of individual policies which won support from the business community, and engaging extensively with businesses of all sizes and in all parts of Britain, it is clear that the overall tone and cumulative effect of Labour's offer didn't win favour at the general election.
"It is crucial that we learn the right lessons from defeat and win back the support of business."