James O'Brien explains why Labour is abstaining in Commons tier system vote

1 December 2020, 14:17

By Sam Sholli

This is the moment James O'Brien explained why the Labour Party is abstaining in today's key Commons vote on the Covid tier system.

Sir Keir Starmer announced on Monday that his party would abstain in the vote on the new tier system, as it comes into force on tomorrow at the end of the national lockdown.

Responding to the Labour leader's statement, a No 10 spokesperson said Sir Keir should work with the government and accused him of offering "no leadership at all" during the coronavirus crisis.

However, ahead of the vote, the Labour leader said he remained "deeply concerned" that the Government had failed to use this latest lockdown to put a credible health and economic plan in place."

Speaking to a caller about the Labour Party's decision to abstain, James O'Brien explained: "The Tories have got an 80-seat majority.

"There is no conceivable circumstance in which anything would pass the House of Commons that would see us go further than we're poised to do at midnight tonight.

"Because the Tory rebels think that we're going too far. So the only reason Johnson's got a vague problem is because he has got 50 or 60 backbenchers who think that this scheme goes too far.

"So the idea that there would be an option which Labour could activate which would allow us to go even further than the scheme on the table is pie in the sky."