At the end of last night’s meeting of the PLP Ian Austin, Gordon’s PPS, came out to give the official word to the thirsty gentlemen of the Lobby. Last time he did this his cunning plan was to say that everyone loved Gordon and everything was fine.
This had only one tiny flaw: it relied on 350 unhappy Labour MPs keeping their mouths shut. They of course did not, and we all now know that there was a mutiny over doubling the tax rate on low earners. So what did Ian do last night? He explained again that everything is fine and everyone loves Gordon! “That’s what you told us last time,” said Newsnight’s Crick. “I stand by every word of what I said last time,” Austin replied, “I tell the truth. I stake my reputation on the accuracy of my briefing.”
Guido has previously implied that Lobby hacks are unskilled. On reflection they did show professionalism last night. Not one of them laughed until after Ian Austin was out of sight.
“This is, at its heart, a matter of public trust,” he told the PM, concluding: “I cannot reconcile the terms of the proposed deal with the promises we made to the country in our manifesto at the last election… I believe that the regulatory regime proposed for Northern Ireland presents a very real threat to the integrity of the United Kingdom. I cannot support an indefinite backstop arrangement, where the EU holds a veto over our ability to exit…”