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Javid claims Labour would plunge Britain into economic crisis ‘within months’

Labour has condemned the analysis as a “ludicrous piece of Tory fake news” and an “incompetent mish-mash of debunked estimates and bad maths”.

Chancellor Sajid Javid (Jeff Overs/BBC)
Chancellor Sajid Javid (Jeff Overs/BBC)

By Harriet Line, PA Deputy Political Editor

Labour would plunge Britain into an economic crisis “within months”, Sajid Javid has warned, as he defended the Conservative’s claim that Jeremy Corbyn’s policies would cost £1.2 trillion.

The Chancellor said the opposition would spend an extra £650 million a day if they win the General Election – labelling the levels of spending “eye-watering”.

But Labour has condemned the analysis as a “ludicrous piece of Tory fake news” and an “incompetent mish-mash of debunked estimates and bad maths”.

The row came as Labour’s Keith Vaz, who was facing suspension from the Commons for six months after he was found to have “expressed willingness” to purchase cocaine for others, announced he would not stand at the election.

Mr Javid said the proposals – which include plans to renationalise rail, mail, water and energy – were “absolutely reckless” and equivalent to funding the entire NHS budget for nine years.

He told BBC One’s The Andrew Marr Show: “This is the true cost of Corbyn’s Labour: these are the numbers that John McDonnell did not want you to see, and they’re out there today…

“These are eye-watering levels of spending – £1.2 trillion.

“It will be absolutely reckless and will leave this country with an economic crisis within months, not years.”

But shadow chancellor John McDonnell said: “Labour will tax the rich to pay for things everyone needs and deserves, like decent housing, healthcare and support for our children.

“We will also use the power of the state to invest to grow our economy, create good jobs in every region and nation and tackle the climate emergency.

“The Conservatives will be able to read all about these plans – and how much they actually cost – when we publish our fully-costed manifesto.”

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(PA Graphics)

The analysis, overseen by Mr Javid, and published in a 35-page dossier, is based on costings for Labour’s last manifesto and its most recent pledges, spread across a five-year period.

It assumes the Opposition would immediately sign up to the 32-hour week, abolish private schools, and pilot a universal basic income.

However shadow defence secretary Nia Griffith said Labour would not implement every policy from its annual conference – as the party could “only do a certain amount at once”.

Meanwhile, Business minister Kwasi Kwarteng was unable to put a price on his own party’s pledges, and told Sky: “I’m not going to bandy around figures.”

It came as:

– Party leaders displayed a rare moment of unity as they pause their campaigns to pay their respects at the National Service of Remembrance at the Cenotaph.

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Jeremy Corbyn and Boris Johnson during the Remembrance Sunday service at the Cenotaph (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

– Labour’s shadow communities secretary Andrew Gwynne refused to say whether a Labour government’s Brexit deal would end freedom of movement.

– Credit ratings agency Moody’s lowering its outlook for UK debt to “negative” from “stable”.

– Mr Kwarteng said Boris Johnson was right to claim there would be no barriers to trade crossing the Irish Sea after Brexit.

Mr Gwynne told the BBC that the £1.2 trillion claim was an “absolute work of fiction” by Tories, adding: “You can’t trust a word that Johnson and his ministers say on this issue.

“We will have a fully-costed manifesto in due course when we launch that, and the challenge actually is for the Conservatives to fully cost their own manifesto, something they didn’t do in 2017.”

Asked what the correct figure for Labour’s spending is, the shadow communities secretary said: “Well look, that’s still being finalised.”

As the battle for seats continues, Labour selected Ibrahim Dogus, a restaurateur, as its candidate for deputy leader Tom Watson’s West Bromwich East constituency.

Meanwhile, the Conservative candidate for the Labour-held seat of Wakefield, Antony Calvert, quit the race amid a storm over comments he made on food banks and feminism.

PA

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