John mcdonnell

Simon Case’s mea culpa

It’s supposedly illegal to die in the House of Commons, but Simon Case gave it a good try this afternoon. The Cabinet Secretary endured a torrid time before the Public Administration Committee, being grilled on everything from Partygate and public standards to Carrie Johnson and civil service cuts. For 107 minutes, Britain’s top mandarin was metaphorically pummeled around the Jo Grimond room, looking at times as though he’d prefer the fate of Jeremy Thorpe’s Rinka. It was difficult to pick a lowlight from this session, though Mr S shall give it a try. Having begun the meeting in his best Sir Humphrey mode – ‘the government of the day is

Labour lefties show their solidarity

Once the British left fought for civil rights, social justice and the brotherhood of man. But now such high principles have been discarded in favour of less grandiose battles, judging by the shenanigans of the Socialist Campaign Group of Labour MPs. The group, established by Tony Benn’s supporters in 1982, boasts the backing of 33 Labour MPs with more comrades in the House of Lords. Members spent the weekend organising a letter in defence of filmmaker Ken Loach, who revealed on Saturday that he has been expelled from the party. The group lionised Loach as ‘an outstanding socialist and a fierce opponent of discrimination’ and decried how ‘Ken is expelled

The world’s unluckiest anti-racist: Corbyn’s greatest hits

Rallies for Palestine were held across the country this weekend which meant of course a starring role for one Jeremy Corbyn. The former Labour leader was introduced on the London platform by comedian Alexei Sayle who – in a move that will hardly aid Jezza’s bid to be readmitted as a Labour MP – dubbed Corbyn’s successor Keir Starmer ‘a little shitbag’ to rapturous cheers from the crowd. Corbyn told the crowds that international action provides ‘succour, comfort and support’ to those suffering in the conflict as they chanted ‘oh, Jeremy Corbyn’ and threw roses as he took to the stage. Unfortunately, as well as appearing on the same platform as notorious rapper

After Starmer: Labour’s liberals should plan for a new party

Labour’s left appears to be licking their lips at the thought of Starmer’s ignominious end as leader, something which they now seem to hope will be coming sooner than they could have ever dreamed back in the summer. Should the party do poorly at the May local elections, the plan seems to be to agitate for a change at the top and unite around John McDonnell as Corbyn’s true successor. If the Labour party was taken over by the far left again, this would leave liberals in a difficult position. Since Keir Starmer took over, most liberals have folded into Labour, correctly seeing that they are the only vehicle for

Why Keir Starmer no longer needs to fear the left of his party

John McDonnell, Corbyn’s right hand man for four and a half years, was full of praise when asked about the official opposition’s handling of the Covid crisis. ‘Keir’s got this exactly right’ the ex-shadow chancellor told John Pienaar. But many of Corbyn’s loyal supporters didn’t agree; sparking an internal Labour argument between the party’s warring sides. It is tempting to point to the scrap and claim that it is yet more evidence of the difficulties Starmer faces to get Labour winning again, as the party’s internal battles never seem to end and in fact, are now being fought out between ever smaller factions. But another, more positive way for Starmer

Andrew Marr: Twitter fooled everyone during this election

It’s an unfashionable thought, but having spent many hours in the university sports hall where constituency votes for Boris Johnson and John McDonnell were counted, I feel freshly in love with democracy. There they all were, local councillors and party workers from across the spectrum; campaigners pursuing personal crusades, from animal rights to the way fathers are treated by the courts; eccentrics dressed as Time Lords. In the hot throng, there were extremists and a few who seemed frankly mad. But most were genial, thoughtful, balanced people giving of their free time to make this a slightly better country. Stuck in Westminster during relentless parliamentary crises, it’s easy to lose

Labour prepares for life after Corbyn

Jeremy Corbyn’s election night speech did little to address the fact he led Labour to its worst result since 1935. However, he did at least acknowledge that he probably wasn’t the best person to lead the party into the next election. Many Labour MPs were quick to take to the airwaves to play the blame game – and in some cases position themselves for a bid for the top job. Succession has been a main topic of conversation within the Labour party for some time now. In the days before the election, senior party figures were discussing how to replace Jeremy Corbyn should the party fail to win enough seats

Labour’s succession battle is well underway

John McDonnell was insisting this morning that Labour was going to win a majority, but just in case, insiders are suggesting that the Shadow Chancellor is planning to take over as interim leader if Jeremy Corbyn resigns after a general election defeat. McDonnell has long championed Rebecca Long-Bailey as a future leader, and there is speculation that he could install her as his shadow chancellor in order to boost her credentials. This explains why those around Corbyn were so keen to try to abolish Tom Watson as deputy leader in September. They tried to force a rule change at the party’s ruling National Executive Committee meeting which would scrap the

The RMT strike is a demonstration of what to expect in a Corbyn-McDonnell regime

It’s unusual for a Governor of the Bank of England to announce his next job before Downing Street has named his successor. In Mark Carney’s case, the new role turns out to be an unpaid, part-time one as the UN’s special envoy for climate action and finance, so no protocol has been breached — though the announcement will serve as a reminder to Chancellor Sajid Javid or whoever succeeds him to let the long–suffering Canadian escape his Threadneedle Street prison as swiftly as dignity allows after election day. What’s significant is the confirmation this news offers that ‘climate risk’ has moved into the mainstream of financial and corporate life. That

There’s no need to mourn the loss of Uber’s London licence

Early experiences of Uber in London did not encourage me to become a regular user. My first driver thought I wanted to go to Birmingham when the ride had been booked from Clapham to Mayfair. The next was a furious driver who would have seen off Lewis Hamilton at Hyde Park Corner. Call me old-fashioned, but I still prefer the pottering black cab with its opinionated Essex-dweller at the wheel and the possibility of paying in cash. So my own modus operandi is unaffected by Transport for London’s decision not to renew Uber’s licence in the capital and I’m not in the least upset about it. OK, life today is

The Tories must be careful not to pave the way for Corbynism

To say one thing for John McDonnell, he shows a refreshing preparedness to use a general election to lay out big ideas. While so many candidates for high office will retreat into platitudes rather than risk upsetting some target group of voters, the man who could be Chancellor of the Exchequer in three weeks’ time made a speech on Tuesday signalling what would amount to an even sharper change in Britain’s economic direction than that brought about by Mrs Thatcher’s first election victory in 1979. It is the most striking contribution to the election campaign — and one which the Conservatives need to challenge far better than they have done

John McDonnell is taking back control

Over the past few weeks, rumours have swirled in Westminster that the Labour party has acquired a new leader — that John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, has almost completed a long, stealthy campaign having stolen more and more power from his beleaguered and exhausted boss. While there has been no announcement, plenty in the party believe that there certainly has been regime change: Corbyn in office, but McDonnell in power. While Corbyn has always seemed like an eccentric grandad who potters about in his allotment, there is something steely and not altogether comforting about McDonnell. Even though he gives broadcast interviews from his sitting room, which looks like the backdrop

John McDonnell suggests Labour could be open to referendum before election

The Labour party is abuzz with talk that the party could back a second referendum before a general election. It’s not that Jeremy Corbyn has suggested such a move is on the cards – in fact, this week he’s been saying the exact opposite while setting out his stall for a general election. However, John McDonnell has used an interview with Alastair Campbell for GQ to open the door to the possibility of holding a second referendum first. Asked which ought to come first, McDonnell says while his preference remains a general election ‘let’s see what actually parliament will wear in the end’: AC: Do you agree with me that

Tories should be terrified of John McDonnell

Once again, question marks surround Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership. This is not new. While I was at 10 Downing Street, with the small but significant possibility of a sudden Corbyn departure, we spent some time exploring the electoral impact of who might come next. To work out who might put up the best fight and how best to counter them, I discussed potential candidates in focus groups, played videos to voters, and polled frontbenchers’ perceived attributes. The most consistently effective potential leader? Shadow chancellor, John McDonnell.  This may seem surprising – and as a Conservative it was a painful discovery. But he ‘focus grouped’ remarkably well. Voters described him as ‘strong’, that he ‘knows what he is doing’ and that he understands the economy. When I played interview footage, including to those who do

Robert Peston

Boris Johnson would be foolish to underestimate Labour

In the next election, as in the last one, McDonnellism will prove a serious challenge to the Tories. John McDonnell, as chancellor, confirmed that in government, he and Jeremy Corbyn would make a full frontal attack on 40 years of economic and industrial orthodoxy, the precepts that markets know best and that our prosperity depends on trusting the private sector. During the first 30 years, this orthodoxy may have delivered relatively steady income growth for the economy as a whole. But over the full 40 years, we’ve seen the greatest shift in history between the share of national income that accrues to workers and what is taken by the owners

Isabel Hardman

John McDonnell’s radical conference speech

John McDonnell’s speech showed what Labour’s aim for this conference – were it going smoothly – is. The party wants to present a domestic policy agenda so radical that it drowns out discussion of Brexit. As the progress of this conference shows, though, that’s going to be very difficult. The shadow chancellor announced plenty of attention-grabbing policies: Labour will reduce the average working week to just 32 hours without cutting pay, it will end in-work poverty, restore full trade union rights, introduce free personal care, and even commit to ‘reparations’ to developing countries for climate change.  He only spoke briefly on Brexit, but even in this short section, he differed

What’s on today at Labour conference: The Spectator guide | 23 September 2019

Labour’s shadow chancellor John McDonnell takes to the stage in Brighton today. Last year, he made an unashamedly socialist pitch. So expect more of the same. Here are the events to keep an eye on today: Labour conference: 8:30: Policy Seminars 9:45: Morning Plenary Session: New Economy John McDonnell’s Speech 12:35: Votes 12:45: Break 14:00: Afternoon Plenary Session: New Internationalism 16:20: Votes   Fringe events: 8:00: Brexit and Financial Services Axel Landin (chair), Hilary Benn MP, Jonathan Reynolds MP, Alison McGovern MP, Neena Gill MEP, Grace Blakeley, Ann Pettifor, Caroline Binham, FT; Wordsworth Room, Jurys Inn Brighton Waterfront 8:15: No Prayer Breakfast Aliyah Saleem (chair), Polly Toynbee, Angela Eagle, Clive Lewis

The next election will be a referendum – on Corbynism

The next general election will have been precipitated by, and will inevitably be fought over, Brexit. Yet it will also be the fiercest battle of ideas for more than a generation. Britain must choose between economic liberalism and a command economy, between a smallish state and a domineering one. This would be a crucial choice at any time, but the implications of Brexit make it more so. Jeremy Corbyn supported leaving the EU in 1975 for the same reason he can’t quite denounce Brexit now: a parliament that takes back control can be far more radical. And his Labour party has plenty of radicalism in mind. Even though Labour occupies

Edinburgh Notebook | 15 August 2019

I’ve been coming to the Edinburgh Fringe for five years, but this is the first time I’ve dipped my toe into the stormy waters of performing. My show Iain Dale All Talk is a series of 24 interviews with politicians, media personalities and, er, Christopher Biggins. As I write this, I’ve just compèred the last show of the run and can look back on 12 days of variety, headline-making, insight and laughs. What do I remember? Nicola Sturgeon in fits of laughter describing what it’s like talking to the Maybot; Jess Phillips telling me she’d run to succeed Jeremy Corbyn and forming her cabinet live on stage; and Dr David

John McDonnell’s banker bashing backfires

John McDonnell spent a large amount of his time this week attacking the career history of the newly-promoted Chancellor, Sajid Javid. While some might take heart at the way Javid, as son of a Pakistani bus driver, worked his way up to become a banker and then the second most powerful politician in the country, for McDonnell it’s clearly evidence that he should be clapped in irons. In a press release on Monday, McDonnell thundered that Javid’s stint at Deutsche Bank and his alleged role in selling collateralised debt obligations (CDOs) which were behind the 2008 banking crisis, meant that he was unsuitable to be Chancellor, and the prime minister should launch