Labour have spent all morning spinning the line that last night’s vote on the 45p tax rate was not a vote on it and that their abstention was not a massive howler. Well now Guido has seen a chain of emails between nervous political advisers looking to Balls’ bruiser Alex Belardinelli for direction on how to clean up his mess. Bear in mind that Belardinelli and Balls have spent the morning denying that this was a cock up or anything other than part of their grand master plan:
From: “BELARDINELLI, Alex”
Date: 27 March 2012 09:42:32 GMT+01:00
Subject: Re: Fwd: Nats in 50p
Truth is there was a screw up somewhere along the way last night and it wasn’t clear what SNP had called a vote on or how, so we abstained on their vote.
Line is: we voted against whole Budget package which obviously includes 50p (first vote at 10pm), and we will seek to amend and vote on the Finance Bill on 50p, plus other issues of concern like the changes to allowances for pensioners (granny tax). There’s not much more we can say beyond that.
Who would have thought that someone trained in the dark arts by firstly Tom Watson and then Balls would say one thing in public and something very different in private…