McDonnell risks splitting Labour
Labour u-turn over deficit prompts outcry
Labour has performed a controversial u-turn by deciding it will not after all support the government’s plans to force future governments to keep a budget surplus.
Shadow chancellor John McDonnell had initially said the party would back the Chancellor but has now reversed that position in order to underline the party’s opposition to austerity.
Mr McDonnell’s announcement risks splitting the party, with many MPs now expected to be absent at Wednesday’s vote in the Commons.
One MP said the change of position has sent the wrong message to the public while others described the leadership as a “shambles”. In particular, the u-turn is seen as undermining Mr McDonnell’s own authority after he made his initial commitment at the party conference just two weeks ago.
The charter is aimed at preventing future governments from spending more than they receive in tax revenue when the economy is growing.