McDonnell Distances Himself From Corbyn

Guido hears rumours that Corbyn and McDonnell’s teams may have had a little falling out over the timing of the no confidence motion. McDonnell’s body language certainly suggests something is up – he is nowhere to be seen on the frontbench, instead he’s lurking down by the Speaker’s chair with a worried look on his face. Trouble in socialist paradise?

John McDonnell Flip Flops On No Confidence Motions

This morning on the Today Programme, John McDonnell was asked if the opposition would call repeated motions of no confidence, to which he gave the clear response “no, we’re not doing that.”

Half an hour later on Talk Radio, however, he suggested that if Labour lose today’s motion of no confidence, “we’ll look again at what the staging is for the next no confidence motion”, and then explicitly confirmed he is not ruling out repeated motions of no confidence: “of course not!”

You know your party’s divided when even the Shadow Chancellor can’t agree with himself…

Labour Voters Unenthusiastic About Leadership Contenders

Labour’s leadership hopefuls have some work to do if they want to establish themselves as successors to Corbyn among the Labour faithful. Polling by the ESRC Party Members Project somewhat surprisingly found Keir Starmer to be the slight favourite among Labour members with 18% support, ahead of John McDonnell on 15% and Emily Thornberry on 12%.

Starmer is hardly the obvious Corbynista choice but with Brexit in the spotlight Starmer’s Remain tendencies are more in tune with the Labour membership than the euroscepticism of the old left. Still a far cry from Boris’s regular double-digit leads among Tory members…

Among Labour voters as a whole, not a single contender breaks into double digits, with “don’t know” polling at a hefty 56%. Starmer is again the best of the bunch on 9% with McDonnell trailing on 5%. Thornberry and Chuka are tied on 3%. Self-promoting Sadiq doesn’t even get a look in – only 1% of Labour members back him and less than 1% of Labour voters at large…

Corbyn’s Confidence Chaos

Jeremy Corbyn has done his best to emulate the plot of a Thick of It episode with his fraught attempts to table a confidence vote this week. Here’s how the chaos unfolded:

  • Sunday: Andrew Gwynne tells Marr that Labour won’t be tabling a confidence motion before May holds the meaningful vote.
  • Monday 3pm: Labour sources brief that Corbyn will table a confidence vote in the Prime Minister – not the Government – this week if she doesn’t confirm a date for the meaningful vote.
  • 3.30pm: May gives statement to Parliament confirming the vote will be held in the week of 14th January. Unlike a vote of confidence in the Government, a vote of confidence in the PM is non-binding and doesn’t automatically get debated straight away…
  • 3.45pm: Corbyn responds to May’s statement but fails to follow through on his threat to call a confidence vote. His team insist they weren’t aware of the date when they briefed out the threat even though Corbyn had advanced sight of the statement…
  • 5pm: John McDonnell does a media round spinning that Labour have “got what we wanted” over the vote. All May did was confirm the vote would take place the week before her self-appointed deadline…
  • 6pm: Corbyn finally U-turns and does table a confidence vote, but only in the Prime Minister personally. This is basically just a symbolic censure motion…
  • 7pm: The ERG and DUP confirm they will support the Prime Minister against Corbyn’s “meaningless” motion. Nigel Dodds says his party is “not interested in the parliamentary antics or play-acting of the Labour Party”.
  • 8.50pm: Government sources confirm they will not schedule any time for Corbyn’s motion to be debated, dismissing it as “silly political games”. Corbyn will have to table the motion in opposition time…
  • 9pm: Other opposition parties table an amendment to Corbyn’s motion to upgrade it a proper vote of no confidence. Still no sign that Corbyn is prepared to do so himself…

The net effect is that something that was meant to be an embarrassment for the Government has completely backfired and embarrassed Corbyn instead. He remains unwilling to table a full vote of no confidence in the Government until he thinks he can win it, so they are simply sitting back and calling his bluff. Corbyn is afraid of being forced into backing a second referendum if he tables a full confidence vote and loses. Particularly with the Blairites spying it as a potential opportunity to finally jump ship and turn the People’s Vote campaign into their new third party…

MP Begs For Brexit to be Concluded

Tory PPS David Morris today pleaded with John McDonnell in the Chamber to back the Withdrawal Agreement “so that we can all get on with our lives.” An innovative approach…

Honest John

John McDonnell tells TalkRadio Labour’s policy on May’s deal..

‘…isn’t just for party political advantage, it is to a certain extent…”

McDonnell: I Couldn’t Be Friends With a Tory

“Could you be friends with a Tory?”

“No. I can’t forgive them for what they’ve done.”

John McDonnell has become the most senior figure to publicly subscribe to Laura Pidcock’s brand of Labour isolationism, admitting to Newsnight that he can’t be friends with someone if they vote Conservative. Good to see the People’s Chancellor would be there for all people, unless they hold the wrong views…

Last night lefty-liberal Brian Cox hit out at McDonnell’s ‘hubristic’ comments, accusing him of believing in a ‘one party state’

McDonnell Wants To Cancel Christmas

Not content with taking away people’s presents, now McDonnell has declared that he is “into cancelling Christmas”

Is there no end to Labour’s Brexit frustrations..?

McDonnell Calls for Collective Ownership of Land

John McDonnell has set out his vision for how to “transform the state from within” in an interview with the New Statesman, including his plans to nationalise industry, make it easier to deselect Labour MPs, “convert ordinary members and supporters into real cadres” and for the “collective ownership of land”. The communist policy that has led to famine, violent upheaval and mass starvation the world over almost every time it has been implemented…

Even the limited experiments with communal ownership of land on Scottish islands under SNP land reforms have been complete failures. When implemented on the scale of Communist China and the Soviet Union, land collectivisation led to tens of millions of deaths.

Corbynistas are really going to have to start keeping a lid on their more collectivist urges if they’re going to fool the British public into thinking that they’re only selling soft socialism rather than the full red-blooded variety. It’s barely even been a week since they were calling for the confiscation of private property

Blairites Skewer McDonnell For Being Too Right-Wing

A slew of Blairites and Brownites have taken to Twitter today to attack John McDonnell’s decision to support the Tories’ tax cuts for 32 million people. Guido never thought he’d see the day when Labour ‘moderates’ were attacking McDonnell for being too right-wing…

McDonnell v Corbyn on Tax Cuts


Labour haven’t quite worked out what their line is on the perennially popular idea of letting people keep more of their own money.

“We wouldn’t reverse” versus “ideological tax cuts.”

Corbyn didn’t really know how to respond yesterday and just blurted out his usual slogans and soundbites…

McDonnell: There Is A Likelihood Of No Deal

McDonnell to Hike Tax On 1.7 Million Job Creators

This morning on the Today Programme, John McDonnell reiterated Labour’s ambition to hike the tax on those earning over £70,000 this morning, in an attempt to squeeze at least £6.4 billion out of them. What they haven’t accounted for is the change in behaviour that such a tax on the more successful would cause…

Hiking tax on the most mobile earners does not make economic sense. Currently, despite Brexit, the UK is extending its lead as Europe’s ‘tech unicorn’ capital, and last year more venture capital for tech came to London than the whole of France, Spain, Ireland and Germany combined. Labour’s anti-success policy would end the UK’s status as a good place to bring your business.

This policy could be even more damaging and unproductive than former French President Francois Hollande’s ‘megatax’ on the rich, the now reversed hike saw French competitiveness fall and professional emigration rise, making London the sixth largest French city in the world. Brexit isn’t causing an exodus of the job creators, but there’s no doubt that a Labour government would…

McDonnell’s Bruising Encounter

John McDonnell (67) is attempting to take the fight to the Tories today with a pre-Budget speech, but he’s already come off worse in a fight of his own this week… with the pavement outside his house:

“I came home from the PLP meeting on Monday… got off the bus, and I’m rushing home, it’s pretty dark, and someone’s fly-tipped at the end of my road. So I missed it and I… literally landed on my face. I thought I’d broken my nose in two.”

It won’t be just his nose that he’ll be in danger of breaking if he ever gets into power. McDonnell will be hoping his speech lands better than he did…

Sajid Javid Branded “House Muslim” at Event Addressed by Abbott & McDonnell

 

Sajid Javid was mockingly branded a “House Muslim” at a hard left ‘Stand Up To Racism’ event on Saturday. A speaker drew laughter from the audience as he called the Home Secretary “supposedly brown”:

“We have Sajid Javid – who is, you know, the House Muslim – who just cos he’s supposedly brown… and just because he has a Muslim-sounding name…”

A source in the room identified the speaker as Mustafa Al-Dabbagh, who was speaking on behalf of the Muslim Association of Britain. Other speakers addressing the event on Saturday included Diane Abbott, David Lammy and John McDonnell. Will they start by standing up to this kind of racially-charged derogatory language from a speaker with whom they shared a platform?

John McDonnell’s Advice from a Priest

John McDonnell tells the Gallery/Lobby lunch what the priest told him to do…

‘He persuaded me to do this. He said you need to soften your image. So do Mumsnet and do this…. I’m trying to soften my image.’

McDonnell: “I Long For a United Ireland”

McDonnell just told a lobby lunch this afternoon that “I long for a united Ireland, but I recognise democracy.” But refused to rule out a pact between Labour and the DUP. Good luck on that one…

McDonnell’s Warmup Act is Mad “Marxist Magician”

Labour is facing renewed accusations of anti-Semitism as it emerged that Jewish journalists and anti-Semitism campaigners had been banned from attending an event tonight with John McDonnell. The Shadow Chancellor, billed as an “unrepentant socialist”, is due to sit down for a fireside chat-type event with Jenny Manson, head of the controversial pro-Corbyn Jewish Voice for Labour faction at a Momentum Barnet meeting this evening. No voice for Jewish bloggers trying to cover the event…

Jewish Human Rights Watch have said the decision to exclude Jews from the event “beggars belief” and called on McDonnell to “withdraw from tonight’s event and apologise to Barnet’s Jewish communities.”

If the chat does go ahead, before the main event the audience will be treated to Ian Saville, a “Marxist Magician” and ventriloquist who has been trying to pull off the magic trick of “making International Capitalism and exploitation disappear” for over thirty years. McDonnell will be needing his “free money magic trick” if he ever gets into power…

Comical Keir: Labour ‘United on Brexit’

Sir Keir Starmer was doing his best impression of Comical Ali on Today this morning as he tried to deny the gaping chasms within the Labour Party over Brexit.

First he suggested that John McDonnell had only ruled out Remain being an option in a second referendum yesterday because he hadn’t had enough sleep:

KS: We finished our meeting about one in the morning and then John was up early doing the media round. I think John, to be fair…

NR: He was struggling with not enough sleep?

KS: No, no, to be fair, John did a number of interviews yesterday…

Starmer tried to move things on to Labour’s upcoming vote on a Brexit motion today, claiming that there was going to be “unity” behind it. In reality the Labour Party rank and file are confused, Guido suspects this confusion is a deliberate continuation of the strategic ambiguity on Brexit that is the party’s only consistent policy…

UPDATE: Starmer has refused to confirm that the UK would leave the EU on March 29th next year under Labour, telling TalkRadio’s Ross Kempsell that Labour could extend Article 50 depending on the circumstances. How is this piece of constructive ambiguity going to go down with Labour’s Brexit voters?

 

UPDATE II: The Tories are keen to point out that Keir Starmer previously said the official position was ‘There’s no dispute that Britain will leave the European Union in March 2019. Labour voted to trigger Article 50 and we did so knowing that we would leave the EU within two years’

McDonnell and Starmer at War Over Second Referendum

John McDonnell seemingly offered a rare shred of clarity on Labour’s Brexit position this morning when he appeared to rule out the possibility of Labour supporting a second referendum with Remain as an option. He told Today and Good Morning Britain that Labour accepted the result of the first referendum and a “People’s Vote” would be on whether to accept the deal or not.[…] Read the rest

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Quote of the Day

Tobias Ellwood tells LBC…

“So Jeremy Corbyn will meet with Hamas, Hezbollah and the IRA with no preconditions, but won’t meet the British Prime Minister without her agreeing to his precondition.”

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