On 23 July, BBC Newsnight shared a clip from an interview with shadow chancellor John McDonnell. In it, he expertly highlighted the absurdity of new Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson‘s refusal to work with Jeremy Corbyn.
Responding to a question about Swinson’s hostile stance, McDonnell said:
Isn’t it interesting? Jo Swinson was willing to work with the Tories, introduce some of the most savage austerity cuts that cost people their lives… But she won’t work with a Labour leader who opposed all those austerity measures.
And he stressed:
I think Jo Swinson needs to look inside her own conscience about her own behaviour under the austerity programme she supported in government.
“I think Jo Swinson needs to look inside her own conscience about her own behaviour under the austerity programme she supported” – John McDonnell MP, Shadow Chancellor, after Jo Swinson said she would work with Labour but not Jeremy Corbyn himself@johnmcdonnellMP | #newsnight pic.twitter.com/eVqTRvMbBy
— BBC Newsnight (@BBCNewsnight) July 23, 2019
Shadow home secretary Diane Abbott had previously tweeted:
So @joswinson on @BBCr4today making it clear she would only go into coalition with @UKLabour if @jeremycorbyn was removed as leader. I suppose that would be to make it easier for her to push the neo-liberal policies she backed in coalition with the Tories.
— Diane Abbott (@HackneyAbbott) July 23, 2019
Swinson has ruled out any possibility of a coalition government with Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader. But as McDonnell highlighted, concerns about her don’t stop there.
As The Canary reported after Swinson became Lib Dem leader, she was right behind Coalition-led austerity from 2010 onwards. She consistently voted to reduce welfare and benefits, including cutting payments for people with illnesses or disabilities. She also voted to cut the Educational Maintenance Allowance for 16-to-19-year-olds. And she helped to raise university tuition fees, despite her party promising not to. And she even wanted to honour Margaret Thatcher at one point.
But if her record wasn’t bad enough, she’s also been very liberal with the truth. This week, for example, she falsely claimed that Corbyn had gone “on holiday for two weeks in the middle” of the Brexit referendum. Meanwhile, her website says she has “campaigned tirelessly to save our environment”; even though her voting record shows she supported the badger cull, fracking, HS2, and voted to sell off public forests. It also emerged previously that she had accepted two donations totalling £14,000 from Mark Petterson, the director of a company involved with fracking.
In short, Swinson’s record suggests that her opposition to Corbyn may have less to do with Brexit and more to do with profound political differences that place Corbyn firmly on the right side of history and her on the opposite side.
Featured image via screenshot
We need your help ...
The coronavirus pandemic is changing our world, fast. And we will do all we can to keep bringing you news and analysis throughout. But we are worried about maintaining enough income to pay our staff and minimal overheads.
Now, more than ever, we need a vibrant, independent media that holds the government to account and calls it out when it puts vested economic interests above human lives. We need a media that shows solidarity with the people most affected by the crisis – and one that can help to build a world based on collaboration and compassion.
We have been fighting against an establishment that is trying to shut us down. And like most independent media, we don’t have the deep pockets of investors to call on to bail us out.
Can you help by chipping in a few pounds each month?