Ok so it wasn’t a clash but I did get the chance to speak to Labour MP and Shadow Justice Minister Andy Slaughter at a Q&A at my univeristy, Brunel. Mr Slaughter spent a good 15 minutes talking about how right wing the Coalition was, how huge the Lib Dem U-turns had been so it was no surprise that I was pumped up with a lot of anger. I took my opportunity to question Andy on the recent failure for Labour to vote against the 50p rate being dropped to 45p on high income individuals. He also made an interesting comment on the Budget which was something I thought I’d never hear from a Labour MP.
My first question was on the 50p tax rate. I asked him why he and all Labour MPs, bar two, chose to abstain on a vote on the 50p rate. No surprise that he quickly thursted the Labour line that the party voted against the Budget as a whole. Well, of course they were going to. Well done Mr Slaughter for doing what is expected of you as an opposition MP. He even said there wasn’t a vote but after I made it clear I wasn’t going to let it slip he blustered that other Labour members were too busy and had other things to do so “most of them had left”. I asked why those present chose not to vote but I got no clear answer other than what the Balls’ spin machine had been producing.
What was really surprising for me was Andy’s assertion he made that I don’t think I had heard from any Labour MP since the budget. Although he said those on middle incomes came out poorly under cutbacks he did in fact also say that those in the “top 10% were hit hardest”. This is not only shocking as it shows a Labour MP speaking of the budget truthfully but its also the first time since the budget that I have seen a Labour MP, a high profile one at this, not keeping to the party line of referring any reference to the high earners to the cut in the 50p tax rate.
I’m not sure what to make of Andy Slaughter MPs revelation but what is clear is that beneath the surface of the spin shield there is a very clear and vivid realisation that Labour know very well that this “right wing” Coalition have done what others thought we wouldn’t by making sure those at the very top paid their way.
Labour are well and truly spinning out of control and all I can say is pass me the popcorn.