Labour incompetence lets Tories off the hook
The SNP and Plaid Cymru have expressed astonishment after an advisor to Ed Balls, the shadow chancellor, admitted that Labour had made a “screw-up” last night by not voting with the SNP and Plaid Cymru to oppose Tory plans to cut the top rate of tax for the highest earners.
The leaked admission reveals embarrassing efforts by Labour staff to claim their abstention had been intended, and advice to Scottish Labour’s press office to “hold off releasing line in Scotland just yet, in the hope that it is ignored.”
The embarrassing no-show followed vocal opposition and several pledges from shadow chancellor Ed Balls to vote against the Budget measure.
The Government won the vote on the 45p rate by 319 to 22, a majority of 297.
Commenting SNP Westminster Treasury spokesperson Stewart Hosie MP said:
“Last week Ed Balls promised Labour would vote against the cut in the top rate of tax, last night they abstained, this morning they claimed their no-show was a strategic move and this afternoon we find it was all just incompetence.
“Labour’s spinning has unravelled to reveal the embarrassing truth – the party is unfit for purpose as an opposition. Labour’s incompetence has, again, let the Tories off the hook.
“While Labour work out how votes work at Westminster, the SNP will oppose the Tories unfair Budget which punishes pensioners and public sector workers and does nothing to stimulate the economy. This was not a budget for Scotland and is proof of the urgent need for Scotland to have control over financial powers with independence.”
Plaid Cymru MP Jonathan Edwards said:
“Labour are the party that don’t know who they are or what they stand for. Last year they abstained when we fought to cut VAT, this year they abstained on whether or not to help the mega-rich.
“There was no surprise in this vote – it was in the order paper. This is what Ed Balls was like at the Treasury – good at shouting, poor on detail. Plaid will continue to put the case for a progressive taxation system – fair tax is a principle, not an option.”
Labour’s leaked email admission can be found here: