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The biggest cheer shadow chancellor McDonnell got was when he declared “…in conclusion”

November 23rd, 2016

Britain needs an opposition far better than Labour is providing

It’s been a day dominated by Philip Hammond’s first big event as Chancellor, the autumn statement. The big political points were the increasing size of the projected deficit and the likely impact of BREXIT.

At the budget in the spring the former is that the first response comes from the leader of the opposition. At the autumn statement, which is now being abolished, it’s slightly different with the shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, being the first to respond. This is a tricky one because he has little time to analyse and reflect and then he is on his feet.

He was heard in almost silence by his own MPs. The Telegraph declared “John McDonnell reacted to the Autumn Statement like he was hungover. Thank God it’s being abolished”.

In fact the only assertion from McDonnell that got any response was when he said “..inconclusion”,

The Spectator’s Isabel Hardman hit the nail on the head with this:-

“..Labour has become rather irrelevant, particularly in a Commons context. Its position in the polls is the main reason ministers don’t fear probing from shadow ministers so much, but the lack of seriousness with which Corbyn and McDonnell treat parliament in general has also diminished the party’s scrutinising force. This force is then further diminished by the lack of seriousness with which most Labour MPs treat their party’s leadership: moderate backbenchers have been focusing on their own scrutiny strategy rather than on trying to help McDonnell with his…”

It is hard to see anything changing until there’s a new leadership and that’s not likely to happen this side of the general election.

Lucky Theresa May.

Mike Smithson