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Clause 3 — Abolition of starting and savings rates and creation of starting rate for savings

Part of Orders of the Day – in the House of Commons at 9:00 pm on 28th April 2008.

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Photo of Jeremy Browne Jeremy Browne Shadow Minister (Treasury) 9:00 pm, 28th April 2008

I have not checked with all my hon. Friends, but I am sure that they agree with me on the matter. Given that our position is logical, consistent and principled, it would be odd if a lot of logical, consistent and principled people did not agree with it. However, I shall move on, as instructed.

There were two myths about the Prime Minister before he took office and was exposed. The first was that he put the needs of the poor at the top of his agenda. That has been proved emphatically not to be the case. He is far more interested in political positioning and manoeuvring, especially if he is trying to outmanoeuvre the Conservative party, even if some of the poorest people in our society constitute the collateral damage.

The second myth about the Prime Minister was that he was the master strategist, a chess player who thought several moves ahead. That claim now appears laughable. Indeed, the Secretary of State for Justice, who was the Prime Minister's campaign manager when he stood in the uncontested election for leader of the Labour party, now apologises for the Prime Minister's errors. He said—in a way that I suspect has led to another icy meeting behind the scenes—that the Government's "best brains" had not managed to work out that there would be more than 5 million losers as a result of doubling the 10p rate. The best brains are clearly not good enough to help those on the lowest incomes.

At the weekend, Lord Levy told us that Tony Blair is alleged to have said that the Prime Minister did not have the necessary skills to win a general election and that he lacked the personality and the strategic skills necessary to be in No. 10—

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