£84,000-a-Year Reeves Refuses to Commit £400 Energy Rebate Charity Donation

Given how aggressively Labour’s attacking the Tories for handing out a universal £400 energy bill grant – as opposed to means testing it – Guido was surprised to see Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves struggle to commit to sending that cash to a worthy cause during her appearance on TalkTV this morning. After Rishi promised to do just that on his morning media round…

Asked by Jeremy Kyle if she’d donate £400 to charity, Reeves said:

“Well, you know, I’d be happy… I already make donations to charity to ensure that I’m doing that I’m doing what I can to help people who are less well off than myself. But the point is if I were Chancellor, I wouldn’t be designing a system like this. We shouldn’t be designing a system that sees people who are the very wealthiest get as much money as those people who are just about managing… as a result, there is taxpayer money being wasted.”

Unsurprisingly, the Tories out-spending Labour has left Starmer and his team struggling for a decent attack line. Whilst Rishi’s move may be economically questionable, it’s undoubtedly left Labour gasping for oxygen politically. If the Shadow Cabinet’s main opposition is that the policy isn’t means tested, they should be the change they want to see and donate the £400 to a charity for the needy. Now we’ve got Tory backbenchers with a tax and spend leadership, and Labour backbenchers with a leadership arguing against the traditional socialist belief in universal welfare…

mdi-timer 27 May 2022 @ 14:47 27 May 2022 @ 14:47 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Angela Rayner’s New Campaign Team

On Friday evening Labour eventually announced Keir Starmer’s new shadow cabinet in full, including all the junior positions. Guido was interested to observe just one of Sir Keir’s ‘big beasts’ publicly announce their spokespeople: Angela Rayner. Not only did she tweet three announcement posts, she deliberately called the appointments “my Shadow Cabinet team”. Obviously underlining her new close allies after Sir Keir’s bungled sacking…

  • Her new PPS – Florence Eshalomi: 2019 intake for Vauxhall. Previously a Progress official who backed Liz Kendall in 2015. Resigned as a whip in December 2020 after abstaining against the EU Future Relationship. Switched factions and backed Dawn Butler in 2020.
  • Shadow Employment Rights and protections – Andy McDonald: To support Rayner’s new role as “Shadow Secretary of State for the future of work”. Reportedly Starmer wanted to sack him from the shadow cabinet however Rayner personally fought to save him. Described as the “last Corbynite standing”. Backed Burgon in 2020.
  • Shadow employment minister – Imran Hussain: A solid left-winger, backing Corbyn from the start in 2015 and Long-Bailey in 2020. Backed Burgon in 2020.
  • Shadow minister for democracy – Cat Smith: A member of the Socialist Campaign Group from her first day in 2015, and an original backer of Corbyn. A former chair of the APPG on Cuba. Backed Rayner in 2020.
  • Shadow paymaster general – Jack Dromey: Her team’s token anti-Corbynite, backing Owen Smith in 2016’s failed coup. Backed Rayner in 2020.
  • Shadow parliamentary secretary – Fleur Anderson: MP for Putney – the only seat Labour gained in 2019. Vehemently pro-remain and anti-Brexit. Backed Allin-Khan in 2020. 

Rayner has assembled a team of mostly hard-core socialists plus an old school grey hair (Dromey) and a new intake moderate (Eshalomi) – handy to have a team that reaches across the PLP if Starmer falls under a bus driven by John McDonnell. Could end up being quite a useful group if Rayner can enthuse them…

Putting the reshuffle behind her, Angela Rayner was back to work today, in her capacity as Shadow Secretary of State for the Future of Work. Joining with the TUC, she and Labour are calling for workers to take back control and put an end to the practice of ‘fire and rehire’. Guido’s confused – fire and re-hire has worked out pretty well for Rayner jobs-wise…

mdi-timer 17 May 2021 @ 16:58 17 May 2021 @ 16:58 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Shadow Cabinet Member Announces Frontbench Resignation Following Local Election Results

Khalid Mahmood, shadow minister for defence, has announced that he quit Starmer’s front bench ahead of the local election results:

It would be easy for Labour MPs and members to whinge about the unfairness of this summary of the past decade. But we must recognise that is how we are seen by so many people in the places that were once unfailingly loyal to us – as a party that has lost its way. It is only by engagement on a local level, meeting eye to eye with voters and hearing their concerns, that we will fix that. I will be doing so not from the Labour front bench, but walking the streets of my constituency as a backbencher and talking face to face with the people I have the honour to serve. 

mdi-timer 7 May 2021 @ 18:13 7 May 2021 @ 18:13 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Shadow Cabinet Universally Confused About Universal Credit Policy

Ahead of this afternoon’s Commons showdown over Universal Credit, Guido’s been trying to pin down exactly what is Labour’s general welfare policy? Sir Keir is simultaneously calling for the system to be scrapped entirely, yet will be using today’s Opposition Day Debate to demand billions more be injected into a system he sees as not fit for purpose. Can the rest of the Shadow Cabinet clarify Labour’s policy platform?

Jonathan Reynolds, Shadow Work and Pensions: Suggests Labour won’t really abolish Universal Credit in full, it will be more a rebranding attempt of the current system:

“‘We use the language of full replacement, because we are clearly opposed to some of the features of it, like the two-child limit and the benefit cap, and we feel the brand is too tarnished”

He does support the principles behind the system though: “there are merits in combining particularly out-of-work support and in-work support and housing benefit at the same time”. Reynolds even heaped praise on the system last year, saying it was ready to support people at the beginning of the crisis…

Anneliese Dodds, Shadow Chancellor: A press release from Dodds a fortnight ago describes the current Universal Credit provision – including the £20 a week Covid bonus – as supporting “those on low incomes and out of work”.

Lisa Nandy, Shadow Foreign Secretary: Told the Today Programme a year ago that the “principle” of Universal Credit is “the right one, to simplify the system so that those who rely on it can actually understand it”.

Jim McMahon, Shadow Transport: Tweeted that the “principle” of Universal Credit is “right”.

Luke Pollard, Shadow Environment: Previously called for Universal Credit to be paused and reformed, then flipped to calling for it to be scrapped in 2019, now flip-flopped again to calling for it to be reformed. Pollard doesn’t seem to have a clue what is his party’s policy. To be fair, who can blame him?

It’s not just the Shadow Cabinet that’s confused: Andy Burnham is on record saying simplifying the old welfare system was a sound argument, and former Shadow Work and Pension Secretary (now West Midlands Mayoral candidate) Liam Byrne called it a “good idea”. Guido reckons Jonathan Reynolds’ comment – that Labour policy is more about a rebrand than really scrapping Universal Credit – is closest to the truth, though his language is in truth more about appeasing the hard left of the party than a policy change in the interests of the voters…

mdi-timer 18 January 2021 @ 13:17 18 Jan 2021 @ 13:17 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Sir Keir’s First Frontbench Resignation

Less than two weeks after being elected Labour Leader, Keir Starmer’s already suffered his first frontbench resignation, with former Labour General Secretary Iain McNicol quitting last night as a Labour Whip in the Lords. Corbyn managed three months before suffering a shadow cabinet resignation… 

Lord McNicol’s move comes in response to the pending investigation into the recently-leaked dossier on Labour’s handling of Antisemitism, in which McNicol is mentioned frequently; including claims that when Corbyn’s office questioned senior Labour staff about antisemitism cases, including McNicol, they repeatedly:

  • Provided timetables for the resolution of cases that were never met.
  • Falsely claimed to have processed all antisemitism complaints.
  • Falsely claimed that most antisemitism complaints the party received were not about Labour members.
  • Provided highly inaccurate statistics of antisemitism complaints.

The report also implies McNicol was amongst those secretly disappointed in Labour’s 2017 election performance, claiming he and others discussed “hiding their reactions, saying “everyone needs to smile” and “we have to be upbeat. And not show it”.

WhatsApp messages from McNicol also show him ridiculing Labour policies as they were being announced, including free school meals with comments such as “Next we will be saying most poor people are criminals. And the best way to reduce future offending is by forced castration.” McNicol is in an awkward situation, however if Starmer makes him to be the fall guy Labour’s centrists will not be happy…

mdi-timer 16 April 2020 @ 13:30 16 Apr 2020 @ 13:30 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Shadow Cabinet’s Common People

Now the Shadow Cabinet is in place, Angela Rayner and Jon Ashworth will be breathing sighs of relief to remain at the top table. Guido wonders when the lockdown is over whether they’ll party as hard as they did at Labour’s October Conference…

Guido’s always happy to showcase the hidden talents of the shadow cabinet. This sounds far worse that the recording we got of Ashworth before the general election. He’s just thankful this singing session didn’t result in a drunken leadership row, as seen in January.

Ironically, their choice of song was ‘Common People’; luckily, Rayner and Ashworth can get away with the label unlike many of Labour’s new front bench. With almost 20% privately educated, and 38% Oxbridge educated, Starmer’s top team are hardly common people…

Hat-tip: Guy Keith-Miller
mdi-timer 6 April 2020 @ 16:32 6 Apr 2020 @ 16:32 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
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