The Andrew Marr Show
Shadow Chancellor Anneliese Dodds did not pledge Labour’s unconditional support for new Covid restrictions, said a public sector pay freeze “right now” would be “economically very damaging”, and described the row over Jeremy Corbyn as “frustrating”.
- On whether it is good news that the national lockdown ends on December 2nd: “It will be good news if we can be moving safely into a different system of restrictions… But we’ve really got to learn lessons from what happened previously.”
- She added: “I really hope that when the Prime Minister sets out that plan, there will be much more clarity around why different areas might end up in different tiers, what support will be available for businesses.”
- On whether Labour will unconditionally support the government on restrictions: “No, because we need to see the detail of those proposals. Government needs to have learned from all the problems we had previously.”
- On whether Labour could vote with Tory backbenchers to reject new rules if there is not sufficient economic support or clarity: “We’ll be assessing this very, very carefully.”
- On the public sector pay freeze: “We don’t know if this is exactly what the government will put in front of us… What this measure would do is say to our firefighters, hospital porters, teaching assistants that they will have less spending power in the future. That means they won’t be spending in our high streets, small businesses, and that’s a good way of knocking confidence out of our economy.”
- She added: “To be clear, I do not believe there should be that freeze right now. I think that’s economically very damaging. It’s an irresponsible choice. I believe it’s wrong for the Chancellor, if that’s what he’s going ahead with, to be pitting workers against each other.”
- On whether Jeremy Corbyn is the biggest obstacle to Labour rebuilding trust with the Jewish community: “We saw in that EHRC report that this is a problem for all our party. This is something that the entire party needs to deal with… It is a matter of enormous shame.”
- On Ian Lavery saying Keir Starmer seems to have a personal vendetta against Corbyn: “I don’t agree with Ian on that… We need to make sure that we demonstrate as a party to the Jewish community that we have learned from that EHRC report.”
- On whether the Corbyn suspension is worth other consequences for Labour: “For me, the really critical thing is to ensure that we’re not in a situation where we’re investigated by the EHRC… That is more important than any other consideration.”
- On the Corbyn ‘mess’: “Of course it’s frustrating. From my point of view, what I really would have wanted us to be doing – and I know Keir is in this position as well – is actually getting on with implementing the recommendations. This is about much more than any one person.”
Chancellor Rishi Sunak could not give further details on plans for a tougher tier system after December 2nd, but hinted that the 10pm curfew would be altered following criticism of the policy before the four-week national lockdown.
Asked about the three million self-employed workers excluded from economic support, he said: “I would take issue with the idea that three million have been excluded.” He argued that the targeting was appropriate.
Sunak emphasised that the Universal Credit uplift was “temporary” and rejected the idea that people have not been able to afford self-isolation, saying: “Going to work is not the primary reason that people decide not to self-isolate.”
He defended government procurement contracts going to suppliers with political contacts but without the ability to provide the right equipment. “In that moment, the right thing was to act fast… I’m not going to apologise for us reacting in that way.”