“We believe that we can tackle the deficit by halting the tax cuts to corporations,” says Labour’s new Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell. So Guido is not sure what he is going to make of his party supporting the Tories’ corporation tax cut in the Finance Bill debate last night. In a curious exchange between Treasury minister David Gauke and his shadow Barbara Keeley, Labour strangely backed the move:
Barbara Keeley: “Labour is in favour of support for businesses, which is what we need to discuss as we consider the clause. We want to help British businesses to invest in the UK and to enable long-term investment. We will support the corporation tax measures…”
David Gauke: “I begin by welcoming the support of the hon. Member for Worsley and Eccles South for the reduction in corporation tax… I certainly give way to the hon. Lady, who can confirm her party’s and, indeed, the shadow Chancellor’s support for this measure.”
Barbara Keeley: “I do not think it would be my place to confirm the shadow Chancellor’s support for the measure…”
David Gauke: “I note that the hon. Lady said that although she is able to make a statement about party policy as the Labour party Front Bencher in this Committee, neither the leader of her party nor the shadow Chancellor are in a position to do so. If that is the way the Labour party operates, that is one for that party, curious though it might be to the rest of us.”
The question of “Rate of corporation tax for financial years 2017-2020” – i.e. to be cut to 18% – was then put and agreed to.
Pleased that Labour supported the cut in corporation tax to 18% in today's Finance Bill debate. Anyone told the Shadow Chancellor?
— David Gauke (@DavidGauke) September 17, 2015
Wonder what McDonnell makes of that!