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LABOUR signalled its final capitulation to finance capital today when it confirmed the party would not reintroduce curbs on bankers’ bonuses.
Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves performed the latest screeching policy U-turn under party leader Sir Keir Starmer, dropping a policy which she had championed as recently as three months ago.
Instead, she committed to avoiding any “massive upheaval” which might upset the City, which she pledged to “unashamedly champion” when in office.
Last October, when the cap was formally lifted, Ms Reeves condemned the move and claimed that “it tells you everything you need to know about this government.”
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak made hay with the flip-flop in Commons exchanges, telling MPs that Labour was now following Tory policy and that no-one could “believe a word” Sir Keir says.
Sir Keir and Ms Reeves both sat grim-faced through the taunts, which included SNP Westminster leader Stephen Flynn branding the shift “shameful,” but neither rose to defend the new policy.
Labour spokespersons struggled to justify the shift, with one saying that while it remained “the party of equality,” it was “not in the business of dictating to businesses on pay and conditions.”
Another claimed that Labour was focused on stability and certainty for business and “helping it to plan with confidence.”
The move was widely condemned. Labour MP Beth Winter said that she agreed with the comments Ms Reeves had made last October when condemning the Tory lifting of the cap.
“City bonuses are a stark reminder of the haves and have nots of income inequality and the next Labour government needs to focus on that,” she said.
“If we’re lifting caps it needs to be on public-sector pay and giving our nurses and teachers the pay restoration they deserve.”
Labour MP Jon Trickett said: “I was working in Downing Street at the time of the 2008 financial crash and saw what happened when a culture of greed endangered the lives of working people.
“[Then Labour PM] Gordon Brown later wrote that bankers should have been jailed for their fraud and dishonesty.
“If asked whether bankers should have unlimited bonuses my answer is no.”
And Tyneside Mayor Jamie Driscoll, who resigned from Labour last year after being blocked by the party from standing for re-election, said Labour had “totally lost it.
“Greed-fuelled banking caused the financial crash in 2008. We’re still paying for the fallout,” he said.
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