Coffee House

The only Labour business supporter that Chuka Umunna can name is a Labour peer

9 December 2012

2:07 PM

9 December 2012

2:07 PM

Chuka Umunna’s interview on The Sunday Politics today highlighted several of the problems facing the Labour party. When Andrew Neil pressed him on whether he could name any heads of big companies backing Labour, the shadow Business Secretary could only name a Labour peer who the party ennobled in 1998. Here’s the exchange:

AN: Tony Blair said that Labour can’t go into the next election without the support of a single chief executive from a big company. Can you name the boss of a big major company who’s backing Labour?

CU: The Chairman of ASOS who is Waheed Alli. He has backed the Labour Party.

AN: Is that a public company on the FTSE?

CU: I’m not sure that ASOS is listed. It may be or it may be just outside the FTSE 100.

AN: Any others? Any others?

CU: I know where you’re going with this.

The other subject on which Labour is being put under pressure at the moment is whether it will support George Osborne’s decision to only increase most working age benefits and tax credits by 1%. Umunna gave a pretty clear indication that Labour would vote against it, saying ‘unless fundamental changes are made to the proposals that we’ve seen so far I think we will struggle to support it.’ But, revealing, when Neil pushed him on whether he could accept out of work benefits only going up by 1% if the in work benefits were increased more generously, he wouldn’t answer.

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Show comments
  • doughas

    you mean lord sugar is not backing ed or ed, the same lord sugar who was in love with blair and brown

  • John Moss

    Interesting he didn’t choose Alan Sugar

  • Noddy in Toy Town

    Chuka Umanna used to know plenty of commodity traders in Brixton …people selling weed. Does that qualify him as shadow business secretary? Is Chuka having a spliff at Christmas? Will it effect his judgement?

  • In2minds

    Well spotted Adrian Drummond & Edward Whitfield. The fact both Chuk and Dave use the same sign proves it. It’s a trick you learn at Common Purpose.

  • swatantra

    Its true. Labour has to learn to love business and enterprise, otherwise frankly its going nowhere. Labour has to be seen to be the friend of SME’s.

    • Derek Robinson

      Labour did exactly that and look where we are now. Your comment is ridiculous in the light of experience

  • michael

    Chukasumunny …another fresh faced business ‘supremo’ who couldn’t spot a bank slip
    even if it had ‘BANK SLIP’ scrawled all over it, let alone know what to do with one.

  • Adrian Drummond

    Just noticed that he uses that ridiculous ‘thumb over fingers’ trick that Blair, Milburn, et al used to use to emphasize a point. It reeks of spin-doctor body-language, suggesting the person employing such practice is an automaton and lacks individual flair and personal conviction.

    • Edward Whitfield

      Cameron does the same.

      • Adrian Drummond

        Yes, you are right. The first person I ever saw who employed this affected mannerism was Clinton.

  • Bruce Fireman

    Asos is not listed on the LSE, but traded on AIM. It is nowhere near the FTSE 100. Lord Alli is not Chairman of Asos. He has left the Board.

    • David S

      So that will be precisely zero heads of big companies that Umunna was able to name. Even the outsourcing and PFI troughers who made billions out of Labour’s profligacy are keeping their heads down, as their shareholders need them to be in favour of whoever is in a position to award them contracts, and right now that is not Mr Umunna.

  • David Lindsay

    What did you expect him to be, a Tory Peer?

    • David B

      Expected him to be independent of the party whip

      • David Lindsay


        • David B

          It’s called a conflict of interest. He supports the party and therefore the policy by extension. It’s not free independent support. Would love to see your response if lord Ashcroft had been used by a government minister as proof of business support.

  • In2minds

    “CU: I know where you’re going with this.” – Clever boy our Chuk
    which is why the BBC and others have already decided he should be a
    future PM.

    • telemachus

      After Balls

    • WakeupBritain

      Yeah they’re making him out as the British Obama, him or his other whitey hating friends like Dianna Abbot. They’re doing something similar in France.

  • itdoesntaddup

    Doesn’t Chuka have a huge plasma to watch The Apprentice?

    • Andy

      Probably. Paid for by the public purse I’ll be bound.

  • Nick Reid

    Asos is a UK online clothes retailer. It has a turnover of £350m and employs 1000 people.

    Sir Philip Green’s Arcadia, on the other hand, employs 45,000.

    Gives you some idea of ASOS’s importance in UK corporate life.

    • telemachus

      So what
      Of course highly paid company bosses will protect their high salaries and pensions
      SlipperyvAndrew Neil should have been given the flea in the ear he deserves
      Yet another sign of the increasing right wing bias of the BBC

      • Colonel Mustard

        “The right wing bias of the BBC” – ha ha! ROTFLMAO.

        Only you, telly tapeworm, only you.

  • Jebediah

    Odd isn’t it. 80% of the working population work for private businesses. Labour really is a bit of a public sector and benefit claimant special interest party. I guess they’re for anybody who is paid by the state. One of the classic democratic problems is politicians bribing the public with their own money.

    • Colonel Mustard

      Very much a special interest party. Their message is simple:- “Put us in power and if you are the working majority we’ll take money of you to pay for us to push you around, to pay for those who don’t work or won’t work and to subsidise the minority pressure groups, fake charities and quangos which will undermine your freedom. And in the process we’ll bankcrupt the country again”.

      • the viceroy’s gin

        Careful there. You’ve pretty much described the Cameroons. They’re doing all of the above as well.

        • telemachus

          Yes I thought that
          That Labour cares is skated over by the worried right who know they blew this one

          • Andy

            Don’t lie: you NEVER think. You are incapable of it. After all you remain a member of the stupid Labour Party.

            • telemachus

              I’m sorry
              What makes you think I am a member?

              • Andy

                Ah so the Labour Party pay you to come on here then ? That makes it worse.

                • Derek Robinson

                  Somebody is clearly paying you then I suppose.
                  Business done very well under the Labour Government. Far better than they are doing now 😀

          • Colonel Mustard

            Under Gordon Brown and Labour, a low-paid worker earning £10,000 paid £1,180 in income tax. Now it’s £380. They are £800 better off.

            • telemachus

              What about the chap on £1000000 in May 2010
              How many thousands is he better off now
              You see divisive

              • Colonel Mustard

                As always you dodge the inconvenient truth and resort to the lie. Nothing you can say here changes the facts of Gordon Brown’s Tax on the Poor or the Coalition’s progressive changes to reduce the tax burden of the poorest. Two opposites cynically misrepresented by Labour deceivers like you.

              • Coopercap

                What about the chap on £1000000 in March 2010. Now much worse off! The 50% rate was just a bomb laid by Gordie Brown.

              • dorothy wilson

                And how much better off was the chap on £1m under 13 years of Labour government when he paid tax at 40/% rather than the 45% the current government is proposing?

            • George_Arseborne

              I have not seen this in my pay slips? How and when was this effected? Yo dodgy liar!!!!!!

              • Colonel Mustard

                Don’t be so impertinent. £10k less 2012-13 personal allowance of £8,105 = £1,895 taxable at 20% = £379. And from 2013 the personal allowance increases to £9,205.

                Under Gordon Brown, who abolished the 10p tax rate in 2007, the personal allowance was only £5,225. So £10,000 less 2007-2008 personal allowance of £5,225 = £4,775 taxable at 20% = £955.

                If you don’t believe it check the HRMC website yourself.

                So, not a liar then, dodgy or otherwise. Labour and the left on the other hand, lying and abusing as usual.

                • Diogenesthered

                  VAT up where’s that in your calculation?
                  Child benefit cut where’s that in your calculation?
                  WORKING tax credits cut where’s that in your calculation?
                  Bedroom tax where’s that in your calculation?
                  Change from RPI to CPI for a whole host of things where’s that in your calculation?
                  Food costs up, energy costs up, transport costs up all by much more than the notional inflation rate.
                  Rents continue to reach record high levels.

              • Andy

                Since Labour left office (Yipeeeeeeeee !!!!) the personal allowance has gone up from £6475 to in 2011/12 £7475 and to £8105 in 2012/13. In the next year 2013/14 it will be £9205. Since this government came to office 2.2 million people have been removed from the tax system, which is far more than Labour did for them or anyone else.

                After all Gordon the Moron Brown first created a 10p rate and then abolished it claiming no one would be worse off, which was a complete and utter lie, as any one with a fag packet and a basic grasp of maths could have told him.

            • Derek Robinson

              And me ,in the middle, pays for all of it as I did uncomplainingly under Labour. I know who I would subsidise and it isn’t multi-millionaires or bankers

    • ArtificialIntelligence

      Sure, but then how do you explain their polling at the moment? Are people nuts?

      • Worthct


      • Colonel Mustard

        Personally, I think much of the polling is suspect, especially from a certain pollster. I think it is being deliberately contrived to influence opinion rather than record it.

        • Airey Belvoir

          Might that be the pollster whose Labour-ennobled wife is currently troughing in a senior post in Brussels?

    • andagain

      Labour really is a bit of a public sector and benefit claimant special interest party.

      What special interest are the Tories for? Elderly householders in the South East? They’re not a huge majority either.

      • Jebediah

        Not the point. An attack on Labour was not a partisan endorsement of the Conservatives.

        • andagain

          Sorry, I should have been more explicit. Labour do not have to act on behalf of a large segment of the electorate. Just a larger segment than any of the other parties. They can get away with not thinking about 80% of the population, if the other parties do not think about 85%.