New Shadow DWP Secretary Jonathan Reynolds was criticised last week for his new ‘get out what you put in’ article on benefits, which angry left-wing Labour MPs not only condemned as a breach of the ‘universality’ principle that benefits should be according to need, not ability to ‘put in’, but also said was chillingly close to the ‘deserving poor’ principle used by rich Victorians to deny help to many in desperate need.
But Reynolds was also challenged in March for praising the dire Matt Hancock and Hancock’s daily press briefings – events that have been widely condemned as not only staggeringly misleading but often also outrageously arrogant and insulting to NHS workers who died helping coronavirus victims and to victims of the care-home carnage caused by Tory policies, which Hancock astonishingly described as a ‘protective ring’.
Reynolds lauded Hancock’s ‘very good job keeping Parliament and the country up to date’ – and was politely taken to task by a Twitter user who felt a Labour MP should be doing more to challenge the Tories. And his response was not what might be expected of a Shadow Cabinet Minister:
Mr Reynolds’s support for ‘get out what you pay in’ is not unique among Labour MPs. In fact he used to work as a political assistant for James Purnell, his predecessor as Stalybridge and Hyde MP, whom many consider to be Labour’s architect of the ‘contributory principle’.
Some other Reynolds tweets are worth noting, including earlier indications of a liking for the contributory principle, other comments that will not sit well with the left of the party and a bad misreading of voter sentiment:
Jonathan Reynolds was contacted for comment about his response to the challenge over his praise for Tory Health Secretary Matt Hancock, but did not respond.
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