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John McDonnell: Labour will not make political capital out of a U-turn on tax credits

John McDonnell speaking to the BBC. Credit: BBC/The Andrew Marr Show

Labour would "not make political capital" out of any U-turn on tax credits, shadow chancellor John McDonnell has said.

The shadow chancellor suggested his party could support a revised plan to cut tax credits if "real protection" is given to low-income families.

"I’ve written to George Osborne to say ‘I know what a U-turn looks like... We need a U-turn,’" he told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show.

"I've said to him: 'Look if you can change your mind on this, we will not make any political capital out of this."

John McDonnell said he had written to Chancellor George Osborne. Credit: PA Wire

Peers are threatening to block the £4.4 billion welfare squeeze when the House of Lords vote on Monday.

Labour is calling for the cuts to be delayed while independent analysis on their impact is carried out.

The party also wants at least three years of transitional help to be given to those affected.

"If the Lords do throw this out tomorrow and put it back to the Government, [if he] brings back a policy in which people are protected - not a political stunt - but a real protection, we will not in any way attack you for that - in fact we'll support you," he said.

In Mr McDonnell also said:

  • On the steel industry
Tata Steel Plant in Scunthorpe which has seen job cuts. Credit: PA Wire

Mr McDonnell reiterated his call for the Government to intervene in the British steel industry, which has suffered thousands of job losses in recent weeks.

Asked whether he would consider renationalising the sector: "Italy has turned the situation around - we need to be a strategic state, intervening when necessary."

We need a steel strategy - Osborne said there's a march of the makers and we've got a long-term economic plan.

But we're now revealing for steel that we certainly haven't - we need to listen to the industry itself.

– John McDonnell
  • On the state of the Labour Party
Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the Labour Party, and McDonnell. Credit: PA Wire

He dismissed the threat of a leadership challenge by backbench MP Simon Danczuk as "that's Simon being Simon".

He said Labour were leading the way in creating an "open, democratic and engaging" debate which is helping to "re-engage" generations of people with politics.

Jeremy Corbyn's campaign started off where by we were booking rooms for 100 people to turn up and 500, 1000 and 2000 people turned up.

We realised there's a new generation and some of the older generation who want to be re-engaged with politics.

For the first time, I think, in generations there’s a demand for politics to be open and democratic and engaging

I think that's terrifically exciting.

– John McDonnell
  • 'Purge' concerns

There is "no way" left-wing activists will be allowed to force moderate Labour MPs out, the shadow chancellor said.

Veteran MP Frank Field has spoken of his concerns that so-called "Corbynistas" will try to "purge" those to the right.

But Mr McDonnell said:

We are opposing any threat to individual MPs. We are not in favour of reselection.

The democratic processes in the Labour position will take place in the normal way.

There is no way we will allow MPs to be deselected in that way. We will work together on this.

– John McDonnell

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