Labour MP admits they're pleased Jeremy Corbyn isn't Prime Minister

The Shadow Chancellor said she stood down when Jeremy Corbyn became leader of the Labour Party

Published

Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves said she is “pleased” Jeremy Corbyn is not prime minister as she addressed criticism that Sir Keir Starmer is facing for being in the former Labour leader’s shadow cabinet.

Asked about whether it is a coincidence that she was never in Mr Corbyn’s shadow cabinet, she told Times Radio: “No, I stood down when Jeremy Corbyn became leader of the Labour Party.

“But I have huge respect for the work that that Keir did in Jeremy Corbyn’s shadow cabinet on Brexit, and he also he consistently called out antisemitism. He always was a strong voice for Britain’s membership of Nato in the shadow cabinet.

“And some people called out Jeremy Corbyn from the back benches, like me, and some people from the front benches, like Keir.

Jeremy Corbyn near Downing Street in central London
Jeremy Corbyn near Downing Street in central London

“But Keir has suspended Jeremy Corbyn from the parliamentary Labour Party, and as you said yesterday, (he) just doesn’t see a way back for Mr Corbyn after not just the antisemitism, which is deplorable and which Keir is rooting out from our party, but also because of Mr Corbyn’s views and language on Nato on this programme just last week.”

Asked if Mr Corbyn would have made a bad prime minister, she said: “Yes, I’m pleased that he’s not prime minister, but I don’t like the prime minister we’ve got either, and that’s why I’m campaigning for Keir Starmer to be the next prime minister – a Labour prime minister.”

A future Labour government would abolish so-called “non-dom” statuses as part of an overhaul designed to make Britain’s tax system fairer, the shadow chancellor has said.

Rachel Reeves said she wanted to reform the rules on non-domiciled status to prevent those who had made a long-term home in Britain from being able to avoid paying UK tax on their overseas income for up to 15 years.

Rachel Reeves
Rachel Reeves

Labour said it would replace the status with a system whereby those genuinely only residing in the UK for short periods could take advantage of a scheme preventing them from paying tax on their overseas income and gains.

The policy announcement – a nod to an idea former opposition leader Ed Miliband touted before the 2015 general election – comes after it was revealed that Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s wife, Akshata Murty, held non-dom status.

It has been estimated that the status could have saved her £20 million in taxes on dividends from her shares in Infosys, an Indian IT company founded by her billionaire father.

The news broke as her husband was hiking the national insurance contributions of millions of workers and employers by 1.25 percentage point to help fund the NHS backlog caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Following the controversy, Ms Murty declared that she would pay UK taxes on all her worldwide income.

Amid the furore, Health Secretary Sajid Javid also announced that he had held non-dom status for six years while working as an international banker before entering politics.