John McDonnell calls Rishi Sunak a "stooge" amid PM's cabinet reshuffle

13 February 2020, 14:01 | Updated: 15 June 2020, 15:31

John McDonnell has called Rishi Sunak a "stooge" after it was announced he will be taking over from Sajid Javid as Chancellor.

Following the news of the PM's Cabinet reshuffle and Sajid Javid's resignation, Shadow Chancellor McDonnell told LBC that he was "shocked" over the news.

Speaking to James O'Brien today, he also said that Rishi Sunak - former Chief Secretary to the Treasury - was "inexperienced".

Labour MP McDonnell said: "I'm shocked as you as you are. I didn't expect this. I don't think anybody did."

Referring to Javid, he said: "He had this battle with Dominic Cummings, literally over months, particularly since the General Election.

John McDonnell
John McDonnell . Picture: Getty

"This is about Dominic Cummings and Number 10's control over the Treasury - and getting control is having someone there who would do as they are told.

"But also, you surround them with your own advisors so they are boxed in there."

James asked if Cummings, Chief Special Adviser to the Prime Minister, is "asserting an unprecedented influence over proceedings", McDonnell said: "Dominic Cummings has been a problem for a large number of ministers."

Rishi Sunak - Boris Johnson's Post-Brexit Cabinet Reshuffle
Rishi Sunak - Boris Johnson's Post-Brexit Cabinet Reshuffle. Picture: Getty

Later, James asked: "Just to conclude and to clarify, you said that you can't imagine any self-respecting person working in the conditions that Sajid Javid was apparently asked to? You are essentially saying that Rishi Sunak is someone who is not a self-respecting person?"

John replied: "I'm saying, I think he is a stooge. I think he has been placed there because he would be controlled by Number 10 and Cummings in particular."

Sajid Javid - Boris Johnson's Post-Brexit Cabinet Reshuffle
Sajid Javid - Boris Johnson's Post-Brexit Cabinet Reshuffle. Picture: Getty

John also called Cummings "erratic" before saying "that amount of power" should not be given to an unelected official.

"Not even if it is Seumas Milne?" James replied jokingly.

Watch the full clip at the top of the page.