'We'll work with whoever we need to': Shadow Chancellor hints Labour is in talks with Tory rebels to defeat mini Budget

3 October 2022, 18:50

Rachel Reeves told Andrew Marr some Tory MPs were "unhappy" with Kwasi Kwarteng&squot;s plans
Rachel Reeves told Andrew Marr some Tory MPs were "unhappy" with Kwasi Kwarteng's plans. Picture: LBC/Alamy

By Daisy Stephens

Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves has hinted Labour could be in talks with Conservative rebels, after LBC revealed the parties could join forces to defeat parts of Kwasi Kwarteng's controversial mini Budget.

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Speaking on LBC's Tonight with Andrew Marr, Ms Reeves was asked about the "sizeable" number of Tory MPs who are against measures planned by Mr Kwarteng and Liz Truss such as more welfare cuts and fracking.

Andrew asked the shadow chancellor: "Do you think that you're going to be working with a sizeable number of Conservative regular rebels allowing you to frustrate this government?"

Watch Tonight with Andrew Marr exclusively on Global Player every Monday to Thursday from 6pm to 7pm

Ms Reeves said: "We'll work with whoever wants to work with us in defeating the measures in the government's mini Budget."

Andrew pressed further, asking if she was currently in talks with any Tory MPs.

"I'm not going to tell you who I've been chatting to," said Ms Reeves, to which Andrew replied: "That sounds like yes, you have been."

You can also listen to the podcast Tonight with Andrew Marr only on Global Player.

Tom Swarbrick says the Chancellor has no 'political antennae'

The Labour MP told Andrew many Tory MPs were "unhappy" because of plans being proposed in their name that were not in the Conservative party manifesto at the last election.

"It's clear, Andrew, there are many Conservative MPs who are very unhappy because this is not the manifesto they stood on," she said.

"It's not what people [who] voted - when they voted Conservative at the last election - thought they were going to get."

She also hit out at the government's 'trickle down' strategy - the idea that tax cuts for corporations and rich people filter through the system to benefit poorer people.

Read more: 'What a day': Chancellor admits mini Budget caused 'a little turbulence' after govt U-turn on 45p tax plan

Watch: Andrew Marr: 'What's the point of this new government at all?'

"Levelling up has now been replaced with trickle down economics," she said.

"When Boris Johnson spoke about the end of austerity, austerity is back now with Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng.

"And so there are many Conservative MPs who are very worried about the direction that Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng are taking their party, and our country, in, and can see the damage it's going to do.

"And we'll work with whoever we can work with to defeat some of these measures."

Nick Timothy: Libertarianism has taken leadership

Mr Kwarteng's mini Budget included a number of controversial economic strategies that critics said benefitted the rich more than the poor.

One of the most contentious, the abolition of the top tax rate, was scrapped in the early hours on Monday morning after a fierce backlash and significant economic turmoil.

But Mr Kwarteng still defended his overall plan at the Tory party conference on Monday, telling crowds "we couldn't simply do nothing".

Read more: James O'Brien reacts to 'humiliating' U-turn by Truss and Kwarteng, saying they've lost credibility 'probably forever'

Watch: 'I shouldn't have gone to meet hedge fund managers after my mini-budget crashed the pound', Kwarteng admits

"Because with energy bills skyrocketing, a painful Covid aftermath, war on our continent, a 70-year high tax burden, slowing global growth rates and glacially slow infrastructure delivery, we couldn't simply do nothing," he said.

"We can't sit idly by."

Whilst he admitted his plan had caused "a little turbulence" he reiterated the importance of focussing on economic growth, saying: "It has been tough but we need to focus on the job in hand."

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