Reverse ferret! Rachel Reeves and Chris Bryant have spent the morning grovelling to Vince Cable after their petty attack over the minimum wage backfired in spectacular fashion. Playing politics, the shadow DWP team must have thought they were onto a right wheeze by pointing out that Cable had missed the vote on the National Minimum Wage Bill in 1998. Vince hit back:
“I did not particularly wish to raise this, but I am being asked personally to explain why I did not vote. It had a lot to do with the fact that my late wife was terminally ill at the time and I was in the Royal Marsden hospital. That is why my voting record at the time was poor on that and other issues.”
It has taken almost 24 hours, but finally Labour have backed down:
I have sent a note to Vince Cable to apologise for saying he abstained on introduction of minimum wage. He was with his wife at hospital.
— Rachel Reeves (@RachelReevesMP) January 16, 2014
I too apologise for heckling @vincecable yesterday for not voting on national minimum wage bill. I had no idea of his personal circumstances
— Chris Bryant MP (@RhonddaBryant) January 16, 2014
Cable’s put down sums up the increasingly over-rated Reeves perfectly: “She speaks with all the self-confidence of somebody who was not here at the time.”
UPDATE: Reeves was one of the ones quick to put the boot in when a Sun freelancer similarly accused Lucy Powell of being lazy without realising she was on maternity leave. As were Watson et al. They’re rather quiet about this one.