Fireworks at Labour's press conference this morning, thanks to some brilliant questioning of Mandelson and Balls about the cuts which Labour is concealing from the public. A while ago, the FT did its own version of a table that Coffee House ran in February: the implied cuts that departments will make under HM Treasury forecasts. I reprint it below.
The IFS has sought to quantify these cuts. So Sky's Adam Boulton read out this list and confronted Mandelson: which of these would Labour not do? Freezing benefits? Cutting public sector pay? Halving the spend on teaching assistants? Cutting funding to Wales and Scotland? Nick Robinson from the BBC piled in too: Labour has asked broadcasters to focus on the issues, so why can't it discuss this issue? Our own Andrew Neil turned up the pressure, inquiring why the public should trust Labour when it won't reveal the depth and nature of its cuts. And even Bob Roberts, political editor of the Daily Mirror, asked about the dismal campaign.
Mandelson looked defensive: he tried to close it down, shutting up Nick Robinson and telling Boulton, 'you are not standing for election' - to which the reply to the noble Lord came, 'neither are you'. It all looked very much like the bottom falling out of the Labour campaign. If anyone sees this on YouTube, please say so in a comment so we will put it up.
PS: YouTube coverage now added.