Labour’s shadow mental health minister Barbara Keeley claimed she was “confused about” her “Jeremys” when she appeared to contradict Jez’s stated position on free movement this morning. During a bumpy media round, 5 Live‘s Nicky Campbell asked Keeley:
Campbell: “Jeremy Corbyn has been explicit in saying that freedom of movement must end. That puts us up the creek without a paddle doesn’t it?”
Keeley: “Well it makes the situation worse.”
Campbell: “So why has he said it must end, freedom of movement?”
Keeley: “It’s a strange thing… it’s a strange thing that he said that.”
When Campbell pointed out that she was at odds with Corbyn’s public position, Keeley rowed back and claimed she had in fact been talking about Jeremy Hunt, saying: “You’ve confused me about Jeremys“. Lucky they had the same name, eh…
An hour earlier, Keeley did a Diane on ITV’s Good Morning Britain, claiming that a 1% increase in public sector pay would cost £460 billion. The IFS says increasing public sector pay by 1% would cost between £1.5 and 2 billion. To be fair, she was only out by £458 billion…
Before Corbyn appointed Keeley to the shadow cabinet, she said of him:“the current state of the party means we will not be able to mount an effective front bench opposition.” Quite…
“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!