Johann Lamont under fire in Holyrood over Labour Party policy shift

Fiery exchanges at First Minister's Questions as Johann Lamont came under attack for a major policy shift by her party.

Scottish Labour Party leader Johann Lamont, September 27 2012

There have been fiery exchanges at First Minister's Questions as Johann Lamont came under attack for a major policy shift by her party.

The Scottish Labour leader was branded the new Tony Blair for her inquiry into the affordability of popular policies.

But the leader hit back saying the Scottish Government needed to face economic realities,

On Tuesday Johann Lamont announced a controversial review into what the country can really afford. For instance do we really have the money for popular policies like free prescriptions for all and the council tax freeze.

That comes despite her party campaigning for things like the council tax freeze at the last election.

She argues that the country has to cut its cloth according to what it can afford, and if those who are better off pay for some services which are currently free for all then perhap other services would not be hit so hard.

She said: "We know that your council tax freeze is underfunded, and what we now have to confront — I have been to too many meetings listening to care workers describing their lives now and their terms and conditions.

"I've listened to too many carers mopping up for the fact that budgets are being cut, to stay silent on this issue.

"Talk about not opening the gas bill, but putting it in the drawer - that is what Nicola Sturgeon is doing with the nation's bills."

But her new commission came under a sustained attack in the chamber

The deputy First Minister replied: "Johann Lamont, poster girl for the Tories.

Whatever happened to Labour?

We used to have New Labour. Now we've got Johann Lamont, new Blair."

Johann Lamont says she is simply facing economic realities. But it is dangerous ground she is on.

The policies her review is looking at are popular ones, and voters may not like the possibility of losing them.

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