M People founder Mike Pickering has said the band is “livid” that their song was used by Liz Truss on stage at the Tory party conference.
The prime minister walked up to the podium to their 1990s hit Moving On Up, which features vocalist Heather Small, ahead of delivering her keynote speech.
Mr Pickering said: “They (the band) are livid. Heather’s boy James is a Labour councillor. Hopefully, most people will know that they have pirated it off us.
“She won’t be around to use it again for very long. I would imagine.”
The same song was previously used by Tony Blair and Labour in the 1990s.
Mr Pickering said the band had contacted their lawyers but been advised there was little that could be done.
“I am absolutely gutted by it because they are killing the live touring of bands and artists… I am Mancunian and getting from Manchester to London these days is harder than getting on to continental Europe.”
The use of the song generated discussion on Wednesday morning, with some questioning the choice to use a track whose lyrics include: “You’ve done me wrong, your time is up” and “Move right out of here, baby, go on pack your bags”.
The son of the group’s lead singer Heather Small, James Small-Edwards, was elected as a Labour councillor for Bayswater, west London, in May.
Following Ms Truss’s entrance, he tweeted: “An apt choice! This tired and out-of-touch Tory Government is indeed moving on out.”
Ms Truss personally selected Moving On Up for her walk-on music, according to her press secretary.
When asked about Mr Pickering’s criticism, the press secretary said: “I don’t know who he is.”
Tradition of Tory politicians clashing with bands
Liz Truss is far from the first politician to draw the ire of a band or musician for using their song, however.
In 2020, Neil Young sued Donald Trump’s re-election campaign for copyright infringement, alleging that his music has been used at the president’s rallies without his permission.
The 74-year-old star said that he could not allow his work to be used as a “theme song for a divisive, un-American campaign of ignorance and hate”.
In 2017, Florence Welch from Florence + the Machine hit out at the use of the band’s track You Got The Love at Theresa May’s conference speech.
And, of course, there were the infamous exchanges over David Cameron being a fan of The Smiths…