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Watch: Shadow Treasury minister fails to get to grips with her brief

As Labour struggle to be relevant, Rebecca Long-Bailey — the shadow chief secretary to the Treasury — managed to secure a prime spot in the BBC’s coverage of the Autumn Statement. Alas, brains at Labour may now be wishing she’d given the interview a miss. Long-Bailey appeared flustered as Andrew Neil asked her several questions about her own party’s economic position — and how it related to the rest of the world.

AN: What other government does balance the books around the western world?

RLB: I think it’s difficult to pin point particular governments that have a zero per cent deficit…

AN: Germany is one.

Things then took a turn for the worse when the conversation moved to Brexit Britain. Setting out Labour’s stance, Long-Bailey suggested it was a red line that Britain remains in the customs union. When Neil pointed out that this would leave Britain unable to forge trade deals outside of the EU, she suggested that nothing was definite and a compromise could be on the cards:

AN: So, you would accept that we would not then do free trade deals with Canada, America, Australia and India?

RLB: Well, just because it hasn’t happened so far might no mean that it won’t be open to negotiations in the future. We’re in very uncertain political times at the moment.

AN: The customs union is quite clear on traded goods, and that’s all it covers is traded goods.

Mr S suspects Long-Bailey read up ahead of her next media appearance.

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Steerpike is The Spectator's gossip columnist, serving up the latest tittle tattle from Westminster and beyond. Email tips to or message @MrSteerpike

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