Labour MPs from London have criticised the party’s new Scottish leader for boasting that the capital’s householders would fund an extra 1,000 nurses in Scotland under the proposed mansion tax.
Jim Murphy was accused of trying to “bribe” Scottish voters to combat the threat from the Scottish National Party and snubbing Ed Miliband by not consulting him about his announcement.
Labour’s mansion tax on homes worth more than £2m will raise £1.2bn towards a £2.5bn boost for the NHS. An estimated 80 per cent of the 100,000 householders who would be affected are in London.
Mr Murphy clashed with Diane Abbott, an MP hoping to become Labour’s candidate in the 2016 election to choose the next Mayor of London. She told BBC Radio 4’s World at One: “He just thinks he can buy Scottish votes with money expropriated from London."
She added: “You can’t recruit people on the basis of money that hasn’t even been raised yet.”
Mr Murphy hit back: “I'm the leader of the Scottish Labour party, not Diane Abbott. When it comes to issues about how we would spend money in Scotland on devolved areas, which of course the NHS is, I don't have to consult Diane Abbott. And I don't have to clear things with Ed Miliband.That's not the way it works in the Labour party these days.”
Mr Miliband was said to be relaxed about Mr Murphy’s statement because it highlighted one of the party’s most popular policies.
But other MPs in the race to be Labour’s mayoral candidate joined the criticism of Mr Murphy. Dame Tessa Jowell said: “London’s needs are great. We cannot simply act as a cash cow for the rest of the UK.”
David Lammy, MP for Tottenham, said: “Those who own the most expensive properties should be asked to contribute more. [But] I can’t support a mechanism that would see 90 per cent of revenues come from Londoners but only a small fraction – less than one seventh – of those revenues actually spent on the public services they use.”
Boris Johnson, the London Mayor, claimed that Labour “has decided to be fiscally vindictive to London to bribe the Scots to vote Labour”.Reuse content