Was McDonnell Handed Deficit Note?

Nick Robinson: “What is Britain’s deficit at the moment, Mr McDonnell?”

John McDonnell: “If I can say to you… [pause]… If I can say to you that what’s happened as well in terms of day to day expenditure, we need the investment… [ruffling]… we need the investment… [pause] [more ruffling]… we need the investment…”

Nick Robinson: “Is somebody passing you a piece of paper?”

John McDonnell: “Not at all.”

Nick Robinson: “Just sounded like there was a bit of paper being handed across.”

John McDonnell: “[Laughs nervously] Not at all.”

Nick Robinson: “What is our deficit at the moment, Mr McDonnell?”

John McDonnell: “The deficit at the moment is £68-£70 billion.”

Nick Robinson: “I think you’re being a bit too kind… It’s £52 billion.”

McDonnell eventually got the deficit wrong by £18 billion, so if he was handed a note or a mobile phone it didn’t do him much good…

UPDATE: Was that ruffling some quick googling? You get McDonnell’s out-of-date £69 billion figure if you google “deficit uk”

UPDATE II:


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Councillor John Thomas, Keith Vaz’s Leicester East Constituency Labour Party Chairman says…

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