Labour MP flounders on BBC Question Time as Fiona Bruce probes party’s tax plans

QT: Isabel Oakeshott tells Labour MP’s answer is ‘absolute flannel’

Labour was left exposed over their tax and spend plans this evening as their spokesperson on Question Time floundered under piercing scrutiny from host Fiona Bruce.

Alison McGovern was handed the job of attacking Jeremy Hunt’s Autumn Statement on the key BBC politics show, but was left flummoxed when asked how Labour would pay for the spending shortfall.

Ms McGovern was probed by Ms Bruce about the forthcoming squeeze on public spending, earmarked by the Chancellor to take place after the election.

She was asked what, if Labour gets into Government, they will do about that and find money for public services.

Ms McGovern cited her party’s pledge to close the non-dom tax status, however the BBC host stopped her mid-sentence.

READ MORE: BBC QT audience member stuns Fiona Bruce with small boats suggestion

“Let’s just look into that little bit of detail: at the moment public services are facing real terms cuts of £13 billion next year, rising up to £21.7 by 2027/28 – that’s from the IFS.

“Let’s take next year, that’s £13 billion; abolishing the non-dom tax status for example will raise £3.6 billion a year. Now £2 billion of that you’ve already allocated to breakfast clubs in primary schools and to train more NHS staff, so that leaves you £1.6 billion for a shortfall of £13 billion!

“How’s that going to work.”

Struggling to think of an answer, the Labour frontbencher, stuttering, said she “doesn’t think that the non-dom tax loophole… closing that… covers all of that, because the maths is obvious as you’ve just set it out”.

She said she wasn’t “going to sit here now and write Labour’s manifesto on television”.

Journalist Isabel Oakeshott watched on, unimpressed, before cutting the top Labour politician off and observing “it’s a complete non-answer, I have to say”.

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“A load of absolute flannel! Where is the money coming from?

“You don’t know the answer!”

This last remark won a round of applause from a thus-far silent BBC audience.

She continued laying into Ms McGovern: “I can just tell you don’t know the answer to the question! You don’t know the answer”.

Ms McGovern fell back on her defence that she wasn’t going to sit on Question Time and write Labour’s manifesto.

Later on, the pair went toe-to-toe once again over the Government’s new benefits policy aimed at helping people back into work, but with the threat of people losing welfare if they refuse.

Responding to Ms McGovern’s response, Ms Oakeshott told the audience: “Ladies and gentlemen, this is your next Government!”

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