That’s a title I could not resist. Ostensibly I am blogging about Charles Clarke – uber-Blairite – and his attack on Yvette Cooper’s husband, the apple of Gordon’s eye, Ed Balls.
But actually this is about the more general discontent within the parliamentary Labour Party: no doubt fearful of losing their seats should the May 1st council elections boost the Tories, Labour MPs have been forced to act on the government’s doubling of taxes for low-income workers – and it seems that Brown has been forced to admit to being wrong as a result:
Gordon Brown has told Labour MPs he understands their concerns about the abolition of the 10p tax rate. […]
The PM told the Parliamentary Labour Party work would begin immediately to address concerns but warned: “We can’t have the Budget defeated.” […]
More than 70 Labour MPs have signed motions raising concerns but it is not known how many will vote against the measure next week.
Labour MP Frank Field, who has tabled an amendment calling for compensation for those who have lost out, urged the government “to bring forward specific proposals” to protect low-paid workers.
Brown needn’t play the lottery, but if he did, he would be anticipating another number coming up after 10, namely 42… (Now it seems councils have been using anti-terror laws to stop kids buying booze!)
As Adam Price notes:
In just under ten months, Gordon Brown has suffered 95 rebellions from his back benchers. The attacks are now coming from every direction. Who would have thought following all the joy surrounding his predecessors’ departure that Prime Minister Brown would be heckled with the exact same ghusto at the Labour Party’s Parliamentary meetings as Mr Blair?
Adam’s solution to compensating those affected by the new tax changes is to start taxing pornography. Not a bad idea – perhaps in future we’ll see the Chancellor putting up the duty on booze, fags and porn come Budget day…
As regards the Chancellor, Darling has a confession to make:
Chancellor Darling admitted yesterday that ‘of course’ he knew that abolishing the 10p tax rate would affect five million low-paid workers.
However, in an interview with BBC’s Andrew Marr he refused to pledge that he would reinstate the 10p tax for the lower paid. […]
Interviewer Marr pressed him: ‘so you knew that five point something million people were going to lose out from this and these are single low paid people. How does that make you feel? Did you come into politics to do this?’
Darling said: ‘I came into politics to encourage people to work hard to see the benefits of their work.’
Getting back to Gordon, he’s been telling the Scottish TUC to support the Union of England and Scotland – which as everyone knows is the only union that Brown has any interest in defending. Given that the STUC almost backed the Scottish nationalists in the 2007 elections it’s a wonder he’d raise the issue…