Labour’s Pat McFadden has declared that “I don’t care whether the Prime Minister is on holiday or not” amid criticism of Boris Johnson for going on holiday abroad at a time of multiple crises at home.
The Shadow Economic Secretary to the Treasury told Sky News: “I don’t care whether the Prime Minister is on holiday or not. The truth is even if he was in the country, the lack of grip seems to be the same, so I really don’t care where he is.
“What I want is grip and we haven’t got grip at the moment, we’ve just got chaos… It seems just as chaotic when the Prime Minister is here.” The trip has been criticised by industry figures such as the director general of UK Steel.
McFadden today criticised the “unseemly squabble between the Treasury and the Business Department”, after a Treasury source accused Kwasi Kwarteng of “making things up” when he said there had been talks between the two.
During his broadcast round on Sunday, Kwarteng claimed that he was consulting Chancellor Rishi Sunak about support for firms struggling with rising energy prices. But this was swiftly denied to press by a Treasury source.
McFadden said: “If they’re not involved, they should be, because up until now we’ve been focused on the impact of all this on domestic consumers, and that’s understandable, but this is now a jobs crisis facing key UK industries.”
He added: “The key thing here is not to let ideology get in the way of the right thing… Having supported the economy through the pandemic, it would be tragic now if we stood back and let these key industries go to the wall.
“They’re asking for help and it’s really important that the Treasury and the Business Department stop fighting with one another and get round the table and get to the bottom of what these industries really need.”
Asked whether Labour would support an energy price cap for business users as well as domestic, McFadden did not rule out the option, saying: “That might be one option you could look at, but there are other things, too.”
The Shadow Economic Secretary to the Treasury added: “When I heard the Prime Minister saying ‘eff business’, at first I thought it was just a throwaway quip, what I hadn’t realised is that this would become government policy.”