Labour needs ‘unity’ to win an election says John McDonnell
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The former shadow chancellor accused the Labour leader of claiming policies announced at the party’s annual conference were new despite being unveiled by his predecessor. Sir Keir used the week-long gathering of Labour members in Brighton to try and regain the trust of the British public.
Voters claimed Mr Corbyn’s eye-wateringly expensive spending plans in 2019 were unrealistic.
This week Sir Keir attempted to make his party more economically credible.
“We will never under my leadership go into an election with a manifesto that is not a serious plan for government,” he told a packed conference hall on Wednesday.
“It will not take another election defeat for the Labour party to become an alternative government in which you can trust.
“That’s why it has been so important to get our own house in order this week and we have done that.”
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme this morning, he reiterated the pledge saying his shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves has laid the foundations for winning around the public.
He said: “We also set out very importantly on Monday at conference through Rachel Reeves, who gave a very powerful speech, fiscal rules that the Labour Party will stick to in Government.
“The first was that we will pay for everyday spending, a very important commitment.
“The second, that we will borrow to invest.”
He added: “I can’t remember a leader of the opposition setting out in such clear terms, fiscal rules way ahead of an election, so people can see them and pick over them and know exactly where we are going as a Labour Party.
“That is what a credible alternative looks like.”
Mr Mcdonnell said the remarks on the radio from Sir Keir were “very strange” as he appear to distance himself from commitments made by Mr Corbyn as leader.
“Keir Starmer doesn’t seem to appreciate that Rachel Reeves was simply reiterating on Monday the fiscal rules we adopted four years ago and that he had signed up to,” he said.
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On social media, the Hayes and Harlington MP shared a link to a document produced by the Labour Party in March 2016.
Titled “Labour’s fiscal credibility rule”, it outlined the tests a Corbyn government would be guided by.
Mirroring the rules set out by Ms Reeves earlier this week, the document said the government would balance “day-to-day” spending with the amount it raises in taxes.
Borrowing would only be allowed if it was for investment.
The fiscal rules were not the only pledges from the Corbyn-era which appear to be retained by Ms Reeves.
The woman hoping to replace Rishi Sunak in the Treasury also pledged a £10 minimum wage, a ban on zero-hour contracts, and equal rights for all workers on day one of their job.
In 2019, Labour’s manifesto committed: “We will bring in a Real Living Wage of at least £10 per hour for all workers – with equal rights at work from day one on the job.
“We will end insecurity and exploitation by ending zero-hours contracts and strengthening trade union rights.”
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