A majority of Labour MPs didn’t oppose George Osborne’s welfare reform bill in the Commons last night. While they claim to have plans to fight the bill’s provisions in committee, Harriet Harman has already declared that the Conservative plans to limit tax credits to only two children aren’t something the Labour Party should oppose, nor should Labour oppose the welfare cap. Young voters and working-class voters stayed home rather than vote Labour on 5th May, and Harriet Harman says
“We cannot simply say to the public you were wrong at the election. We’ve got to wake up and recognise that this was not a blip; we’ve had a serious defeat and we must listen to why.”
Out of 232 Labour MPs, over three-quarters of them – those who nominated Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper, Liz Kendall, or Mary Creagh for leadership – who think that the Labour Party should be led by a more right-wing MP. Jeremy Corbyn got the smallest number of MP nominations of any of the candidates but Mary Creagh.
Whenever anyone claims that the British press has moved into a new ethical period because of Leveson and so no new legislation is required, remember David Rose of the Daily Mail and the ugly, libellous, hatchet-job he did on Steven Messham.
I wish Leveson had published his report at eight in the morning rather than lunchtime – I could have written this blog before Question Time. But Question Time was illuminating – the BBC chose four grey men in grey suits, and Michael Rosen for the BBC Extra Guest, and the only one who could speak about media sexism from her personal experience on the panel was Charlotte Church: and while better MPs had evidently fled in terror, Church shone. She was easily the most articulate and most intelligent panellist tonight: if the BBC don’t ask her back, sexism has trumped sense. (As it so often does.)
Of the other panellists, Patrick McLoughlin had reason to object to an inquisitive press: his MP expenses were exposed in 2009. Chris Bryant is another of the home-flipping MPs who decides which place is his “second home” depending on how much he can claim in expenses. Simon Jenkins used to edit the Times and the London Standard as well as write for the Guardian. And Neil Wallis used to be executive editor of News of the World, leaving a comfortable two years before Rupert Murdoch tried to shut down all the bad talk about phone hacking by sacking everyone except Rebekah Wade. Neil Wallis and Rebekah Wade were arrested in July 2011.