Burnham Praises Corbyn in Shift to Left

Andy Burnham has refused to rule out giving Jeremy Corbyn a job in the Shadow Cabinet – describing the man who counts Hamas terrorists among his friends as “a man of integrity”. Speaking to a Lobby journalists’ lunch at the heart of the “Westminster bubble” he claims to despise, Burnham praised Corbyn as someone who has “important things to say” and as having “made important contributions” to the leadership contest. An unsubtle shift to the left to sweep up second preferences from Corbyn supporters… Jezza for Shadow Defence Secretary? 

Burnham then went off on one about Hillsborough, mystically hinting “all I’m saying is there was a decision to leave it alone” when asked directly about a link between Blair and News International. He didn’t squash the idea that the relationship between New Labour & “certain newspapers” led to a cover up. No sign of tin foil…

Pic via @RosaPrinceUK

Kendall: I’m Not a Tory, Honest

How better to respond to your rivals smearing you as a Tory than by listing all the things you don’t like about George Osborne? Liz Kendall has mastered the art of subtlety this morning:

“Let’s start with a quiz. Which part of George Osborne’s budget last week did The Economist describe as “perhaps the daftest economic policy of the decade”?

Could it be Osborne’s con-trick on the living wage, which in reality is no such thing, or his claim that Britain is getting a pay rise, when low paid families and public sector workers are in fact getting a pay cut? You might have expected greater cynicism from media commentators about the Chancellor’s apparent conversion to the cause of tackling low pay. But it’s not that.

Perhaps it was Osborne’s confession that he has failed once again to keep his promises on the deficit, and will take one whole extra year to close the gap in our finances, despite all his rhetoric?

No. The answer is neither of the above.

It’s Osborne’s sop to the all-ready lucky inheritors of property. His inheritance tax cut, which will benefit fewer than one in 1000 families a year, but costs nearly £1billion of tax-payers’ cash by 2021.

As The Economist puts it, this announcement in the budget was the point at which “things took a turn for the barmy”.

You couldn’t make it up. A Chancellor who is happy to see those with the least income lose most, yet with the same stroke of his pen, gives those who are already fortunate in life another bung.”

Unfortunate that she chose one of more sensible and popular parts of the Budget for her differentiation strategy, but still. Ok Liz, we get it…

“Tory” Witch-Hunt: Kendall and Harman Smeared

If the Labour leadership contest wasn’t already a spiralling descent into insanity, Diane Abbott has now accused Harriet Harman of “voicing a Tory agenda“:

The increasing use of the “Tory” smear is becoming a hysterical, McCluskeyite witch hunt, rooting out any sign of moderation among the leadership candidates. The language and rhetoric of the Unite-Zombie-Socialist tendency is becoming prevalent… 

Yvette used it in a barely disguised attack on Kendall:

“I will set out ideas for the future that don’t just involve swallowing the Tory manifesto and set out a Labour vision for the future.”

Then Burnham used the same line in a direct slap at Liz:

“This doesn’t mean copying the Tories. Labour wins when we are better than they are.”

It’s clearly cutting through to the Labour grassroots, providing Kendall’s tensest moment at this morning’s hustings:

Her comeback was a zinger:

“If you believe that a strong economy, sound public finances and backing businesses are simply Tory values, the Tories will be in power for ever.”

The blue menace is real, report all suspected Tory activity…

Labour MPs Swamped By Corbyn Lobbying Effort

Jeremy Corbyn’s popularity at the BBC hustings was considerable – the audience even gave his defence of calling Hamas “friends” wild applause. Allegra Stratton has more to give Labour grown ups nightmares:

“Private research being done for the leadership contenders has shocked many by revealing quite how many party members sympathise with Jeremy Corbyn… Many people who are saying they will vote Corbyn tell the phone canvassers they joined the party in 2010, and then another chunk joined under Ed Miliband’s leadership. The worry for some MPs is that Ed Miliband’s lasting legacy may be to have brought in to the party these members who then end up making Labour’s next leader more left wing than its modernisers want.”

Guido was sceptical last week when one senior Labour MP privately expressed fears that Corbyn might even come top in the first round. Labour MPs have been inundated with letters from hardcore constituents demanding they end their support for other candidates and back Corbyn instead. “Everyone I speak to” wants him to win, sighs one weary Kendall-supporting MP. There’s a lot of anger at Labour big beasts like Tom Watson, who urged colleagues to lend their nominations to Corbyn in order to have a ‘broad’ debate. How’s that working out for ya?

Picture: @ 

Burnham Reluctantly Apologises For His Record in Treasury

Andy Burnham, Chief Secretary to the Treasury under Alistair Darling, eventually – and very quietly – says the magic word:

AB: “The deficit was too high when the crash came. I know that because I was Chief Secretary to the Treasury in 2007…”

VD: “You were still borrowing when the economy was growing. Why?!”

AB: “If you’re honest about your mistakes, then I think people begin to listen to you…”

VD: “Do you want to apologise for that then? Do you want to apologise?”

AB: “Well, we were running a strong economy from 1997-2007… But the deficit was too high in 2007.”

Audience member: “Just say sorry!”

AB: “Sorry, it was a mistake, we shouldn’t have allowed the deficit to get that high.”

Alas they didn’t ask him about Mid Staffs…

Kendall Backs Harman in Welfare Row

All eyes on Liz Kendall after Burnham, Cooper and Corbyn all rejected Harriet Harman’s call to support the Tories on curbing tax credits yesterday. The Blairite candidate prevaricated at this morning’s never-ending Victoria Derbyshire hustings, but she did broadly support her interim leader:

“Where there are things in the welfare bill that are wrong we should oppose them, like the cuts to tax credits without putting in place a real living wage that we can afford.

But I think Harriet was right to say that we have to provide an credible alternative. You said to us, we don’t trust you on the money, we don’t trust you on welfare reform. If we carry on making the same arguments as we have over the last five years we’ll get the same results. Harriet was absolutely right to say that.

I want to support what Harriet said, we have to listen to what people have said to us, that they didn’t trust us, and we have to change as a party. 

I think many parents who are on tax credits have to make difficult decisions about how many kids they can have and how many kids they can afford.”

The implication being that she supports curbing tax credits if Labour “put in place” a “credible alternative”. They’ll be mocking up new ‘Tory Liz‘ graphics before the hustings are over…

Kendall Swipes Back Over #ChildGate

The row between the Kendall and Cooper camps rumbles on. After Yvette’s team allegedly made an issue out of Liz not having children, causing fury among her campaign team, Kendall has spoken out for the first time:

“I want to have a politics where women are treated the same as men and they are not asked those kind of questions. Let me just say this, I may not have children myself but I am part of the best family in the world. My mum, my dad, my brothers, my nieces, and I am very proud of that. I’m really looking forward to you asking the family question to Jeremy Corbyn and Andy Burnham.”

Well said…

H/T HuffPo

IFS Keeping Labour Up

Unimpressed attendees at the Shadow Treasury’s pre-Budget briefing with the IFS report that it descended into shambles when its host, City spokesman Alison McGovern – cruelly nicknamed “Intern” by colleagues – “arrived late looking scruffy in a badly-fitting, too tight dress” and spent the meeting “yawning and texting on her phone”. “Didn’t give the best impression of the new Shadow Treasury team,” sighs one participant. “The incomptence…”

At least Alison put more effort into Labour’s briefing with another key economic powerhouse. Friends happily report she was “on time, engaged and happy to be there” at the Shadow Treasury’s next engagement, with Unite…

UPDATE: Another happy reader:

Out-of-the-Loop Chris Bryant Hasn’t a Clue

As Guido revealed in this week’s Sun on Sunday:

“The BBC has announced 1,000 jobs are to go as part of a £150 million round of cuts. These job losses would cover just £50 million of the sum, however,

[…]

+ READ MORE +

Kendall Campaign Chief Slams Team Yvette Over #ParentGate

After Yvette allies denied any wrongdoing this morning, Liz Kendall’s campaign manager Toby Perkins has piled in on the Daily Politics:

“I think the idea that you say because one of the candidates is a mother they’re the one

[…]

+ READ MORE +

Team Yvette Hit Back in ‘Childless’ Liz Row

The Cooper / Kendall rivalry took a bitter turn last night after a pointedly headlined article by Labour MP Helen Goodman was pushed by the Yvette campaign:

“As a parent”? Liz supporters aren’t the only ones interpreting that as a […]

+ READ MORE +

Labour Candidate’s Shameful Slur on Tunisia Victims

At midday, a minute’s silence will be held across the country in memory of the 30 Brits murdered in Tunisia.

Just hours before, this is what Labour’s defeated parliamentary candidate in Aylesbury, William Cass, thought appropriate to put on his […]

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

Janan Ganesh on Labour’s soft left

“Ms Cooper does not believe the previous Labour government was wrong to run a fiscal deficit after 15 years of economic growth. Both she and Mr Burnham think families should be entitled to tax credits for a third child. These views are not mad. They are just a bit too left-wing for Britain. For any serious party, that amounts to the same thing. The soft left is more electable than the hard left but then Mars is more habitable than Neptune: neither planet will host human life anytime soon.”

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