Sunday shows: “Keir will take us into the next election,” says Reeves

Trevor Phillips on Sunday

Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves discussed the Batley and Spen by-election, saying Keir Starmer “will take us into the next election”, and explained her plan to “make, sell and buy more in Britain”.

  • On the Labour win in Batley and Spen: “The party in Batley and Spen came together under Keir’s leadership with Kim as the candidate. It showed everything that is best about the Labour Party.”
  • Asked whether she agrees with Peter Mandelson’s deadline of September for the Labour leader: “Under Keir’s leadership, we won in Batley and Spen. Keir will take us into the next election.”
  • On who was responsible for the tensions in the Batley campaign: “I saw some of the behaviours of George Galloway and his campaign and the violence and aggression shown towards both Kim and other Labour activists.”
  • On the 8,264 people who voted for Galloway: “There was a huge amount of fake news being pushed out in that constituency and there was the whipping up of tensions… I don’t hold it against anyone for voting for different parties.”
  • Asked whether a controversial leaflet showing Boris Johnson shaking hands with Narendra Modi intended to suggest that the Conservatives are anti-Muslim: “I don’t accept that insinuation, Trevor.”
  • On her pledge to “make, sell and buy more in Britain“: “This is about a post-pandemic recovery plan and how as Chancellor I would ensure that we support high streets, small businesses and jobs and industries across the UK as we address some of the big challenges that we face as a country.”
  • On the plan: “I’ve put together a three-point plan… that includes using all the tools at government’s disposal to do so. So for example with procurement – to use stretching targets in procurement to award to companies that are creating jobs and skills and apprenticeships here in Britain.”
  • She added: “With that three-point plan, we can ensure we’re buying, making and selling more in this country, ensuring that the UK economy is firing on all cylinders and that we are more secure and more resilient.”
  • On her approach to bids for major infrastructure projects: “If it is creating jobs in this country, high-skilled, well-paid jobs and apprenticeships… those bids should get more weight than bids that are creating no jobs, no skills and no investment in this country.”
  • On foreign companies: “We’re not saying that we won’t give contracts to foreign companies – absolutely not. But it is saying, like in France and like in the US, we would take into account the social impact of any public procurement.”
  • Asked whether this would mean Labour backing companies such as Balfour Beatty, which has recently been sued for blacklisting workers, because they are British: “It wouldn’t be me as Chancellor leaning on public bodies to award contracts. What it is about is changing the procurement framework so you can take into account labour standards, job creation and environmental standards.”
  • Asked whether she had read Karl Marx’s Das Kapital: “I haven’t, Trevor, had that privilege of reading it, but I studied economics for my degree and my masters degree. I worked for many years at the Bank of England, the British embassy in Washington as an economist and for Halifax bank of Scotland. So I hope my credentials speak for themselves.”
  • On her approach to being Chancellor: “As Chancellor, I would do things differently but always ensuring that our policies are costed, that they add up and that they are in the best interests of the British people.”

Robert Jenrick described the by-election, which saw the Tories lose by 323 votes, as a “fantastic result”. He said: “There are a lot of questions for Keir Starmer as to how the Labour Party are just scraping home by 300 or so votes.”

On Covid, the Housing Secretary said people should “exercise personal responsibility” when legal restrictions come to an end later this month, adding that he does not “particularly want to wear a mask”.

On the cladding scandal, he said: “We’re ensuring that the most dangerous materials, ACM cladding and other unsafe forms of cladding, are removed from all high-rise buildings in the country at no cost to leaseholders”.

The Andrew Marr Show

Rachel Reeves called for the publication of scientific evidence on lifting Covid restrictions, said Labour would consider tax rises to pay for social care reforms and explained her “make, sell and buy more in Britain” policy announcement.

  • On all Covid restrictions being lifted on July 19th: “We want to see the scientific evidence behind any changes on the 19th… We’re all getting sick and tired of the restrictions to our every day lives and doing the things we love. But it is important that if the QR codes are going to stop, if the masks are going to come off, that we are absolutely confident that is the right thing to do.”
  • On social care: “I want to see a publicly funded, needs based social care system… In 2010, we were making progress on a cross-party basis and the Tories walked out on it. Boris Johnson has now been prime minister for two years and under his watch we’ve seen death that didn’t need to happen in social care.”
  • On raising taxes to pay for fixing social care: “We are willing to look at how you fund it… Yes, including looking at what taxes may need to pay for it.”
  • On whether Labour’s policy announced today on ‘buy British’ mean higher costs for consumers: “It doesn’t have to mean that… It makes economic sense as well as common sense to ensure we’re creating good quality good skilled jobs and apprenticeships here in this country.” She said more weight should be given to bids from British firms as jobs in Britain would mean people paying more taxes in the country.
  • On whether the policy is a post-Brexit dividend, she said many of these moves could have been made while being in the EU but added: “We’ve got to use those newfound freedoms to support British jobs and British industry.”
  • On whether it goes back to Gordon Brown’s ‘British jobs for British workers’ pledge: “I don’t think it does do that because this is about the essence of what Labour is for.”

Robert Jenrick said it “looks” as if there is “the scope to go back to normality as far as possible” but warned that “cases may continue to rise significantly”. He emphasised the importance of “learning to live with the virus”.

The minister announced that the government would legislate so that every homeowner has 15 years – up from six – to “take action against the people who built their building if there was shoddy workmanship”.

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