Toe-curlingly awful interview as Shadow Treasury Secretary Phillipson contorts all ways to avoid saying Tories should scrap parking charges for NHS staff
During this week’s Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs), Keir Starmer told Boris Johnson that Johnson’s plan to reinstate car parking charges for hard-pressed NHS staff was ‘wrong’ and asked him if he would withdraw it. But he didn’t demand it.
A few hours earlier Starmer’s Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Bridget Phillipson, had appeared on ITV’s Good Morning Britain t o discuss the Tories’ plan to reintroduce NHS parking charges. She too managed to say it was ‘wrong’ – but contorted like a fish on a hook when the show’s presenters asked her whether Labour would call on the government to abandon the plan.
It was toe-curlingly awful:
Phillipson is not alone. Unite’s Howard Beckett was forced to speak out yesterday after Labour’s Shadow Chancellor Anneliese Dodds backed away from calling for a wealth tax to fund investments in the country rather than hitting the poor and vulnerable.
Bridget Phillipson has her own form, of course – she attacked Labour’s hugely successful 2017 general election manifesto for offering too much. But she is following Starmer’s instructions, as a leaked letter she sent to MPs in May makes clear.
And Starmer’s instructions seem to be to avoid committing to anything, giving a clear answer to anything, that might offend slash-and-burn right-wingers and those who fall for the Establishment’s lies about affordability. Rather than making the case for something better – an argument Labour had already won – the current Labour stance seems to be all too reminiscent of the days of Harriet Harman’s craven order to abstain on the 2015 welfare bill.
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