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PMQs: What the Labour manifesto really said about Royal Mail

2 April 2014

1:11 PM

2 April 2014

1:11 PM

Today at Prime Minister’s Questions, David Cameron accused Ed Miliband of ignoring his own party’s manifesto on the Royal Mail. He said:

‘He said just then, Mr Speaker, it’s a sale nobody wanted. It’s in his manifesto! It was a commitment of the last government!’


So what does the Labour 2010 manifesto actually say? Here’s the section on the Royal Mail:

‘The universal postal service delivered by the Royal Mail connects and binds us together as a country. We are firmly committed to the 28 million homes and businesses across the country receiving mail six days a week, with the promise that one price goes everywhere. The Royal Mail and its staff are taking welcome and needed steps to modernise work practices. For the future, continuing modernisation and investment will be needed by the Royal Mail in the public sector.’

After the exchanges, Labour MP Jon Ashworth raised this disparity as a point of order, demanding the PM return to the Commons to set the record straight. Number 10 sources insisted that the language in the Labour manifesto was ‘similar’ to the plan in 2009 by Lord Mandelson to sell off 30 per cent of the Royal Mail and keep the rest of it in the public sector to prepare for modernisation. A Number 10 source refused to respond to a question asking whether the PM misspoke or had misled the House, insisting that the manifesto language was similar to the Mandelson plan. But the PM’s defence would have been stronger had he not made this claim in the House.

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Show comments
  • HookesLaw

    Where Labour failed the Tories succeeded.
    The Labour Party claimed the Royal Mail needed investment. Where from exactly?

    • telemachus

      Remind us about pension liabilities

    • Mynydd

      Yes Labour failed to line the pockets of those in the City, Tories not only succeeded in lining the pockets of their City pals but also those of their party donors.

    • Mynydd

      From profits, its last accounts showed a profit of £400m.

  • Mynydd

    Mr Cameron really, really lost the plot today, he had no answers to Mr Miliband’s questions on the sale of the Royal Mail. He then was reduced to school yard language ‘Muppets and dunces’ indeed. He then went on to misrepresent (some would say lied about) Labour’s 2010 manifesto. This was no way a Prime Minister should conduct himself, time for a change, call in the men in grey suits.

    • telemachus

      You are correct
      When he resorts to names
      He has lost

      • Colonel Mustard

        Like you then.

        • Kitty MLB

          Telemachus is very busy today Colonel. He will be cloning
          himself next so he can appear in many threads at the same time. Heaven Forfend, should not give him ideas.

          • Colonel Mustard

            He already has several personae he scuttles about with but Mr Harold Angryperson has him taped:-

            “He doesn’t actually believe any of the bollocks that he posts here, it’s just provocative trolling in the guise of a pantomime baddy lefty.”

            Think “provocative troll” when you see his silly comments and ignore them.

      • Kitty MLB

        Oh Dear, The Colonel has turned up, where will you hide Telemachus.
        Defeating socialism is clearly in his blood.

        • telemachus

          Besotted

    • HookesLaw

      I think the lie and/or duplicity came from Labour in their manifesto. ‘Modernisation and investment’? Where from?

      • Mynydd

        From profits, its last accounts showed a profit of £400m. which will be used for investment rather than lining the pockets of Mr Cameron’s mates

  • Terence Hale

    Hi,
    PMQs: What the Labour manifesto really said about Royal Mail. Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel once defined our interpretation of history as original History, reflective History, and philosophical History. Today in parliament Mr. Cameron gave an additional interpretations as Cameron’s history. The Royal Mail was a mess-up of the liberals with Dr. Cable at the rudder and Mr. Cameron looking the other way being occupied with fringe projects. Sadly under British law incompetence is not a crime.

    • telemachus

      You cannot say that
      This was Osborne through and through
      Cable was made to carry the can

      • Terence Hale

        Telemachus,
        So be it, but at least one thing we are in consensus is, it was a mess.

        • telemachus

          Indeed
          But your and my money

          • Terence Hale

            Telemachus,
            For financial reasons money is better than poverty, may be Mr. Cameron’s thoughts were by Royal Male.

  • Chris Kimberley

    It was a sell off no one wanted and from which no one benefits apart from the hedge funds and speculators.
    Telling porkies about labour’s manifesto doesnt alter the fact that the taxpayer was once again shortchanged and once again will see increased prices and reduced service, just look at the railway privatisation- we now subsidize millionaires like Branson to the tune of twice as much as we payed for a nationalised system!
    But Osborne got a small short term boost to his books in the run up to the next election.

    • telemachus

      Not only that they took the potentially bolshie posties out of government responsibility precluding damaging media stakeouts at their next inevitable strike as the industry winds down

  • Ruth

    Let’s hear more from the 2 clowns about the selling of gold…..

    • telemachus

      When Cameron deigns to answer the question about the Royal mail

      • Alexsandr

        remind me about the dark lord mandelson’s attempt to do the same thing?

        • telemachus

          Different era and he did not proceed
          The pension scheme question was subsequently solved

          • McRobbie

            I presume labours pension scheme solution was by “investment” using private sector tax payers money…remembering how brown destroyed private sector pension schemes.

            • Chris Kimberley

              private sector pension schemes- I think you want to look at lord Lawsons idea of the Pension Holiday to find out who killed them!

              • Jambo25

                Your wasting your time, Mr. Kimberley. It was clearly Thatcher/Lawson who did most damage to private sector pensions but it is now a ‘factoid’ that I was the evil Brown. A ‘factoid’ (Word coined by Norman Mailer) is a lie told so frequently and with such conviction that it becomes accepted as a fact.

          • Colonel Mustard
  • LadyDingDong

    Well spotted Ms Hardman. Let’s have a column from you every time Miliband or Balls tells a porky. You will have to write one every time either of these ‘muppets’ open their lying mouths though……

    • telemachus

      I think Isabel would be safe to promise that in the certain knowledge that it will lead to no action
      *
      PS Was Ed Balls not magnificent in rattling Cameron
      These PMQ’s are a joy

    • Mynydd

      Today Mr Cameron dropped an almighty clanger, accept it and move on, don’t try to muddy the waters, a clanger is a clanger and nothing will change it.

      • Alexsau91

        True, but in the game of communication it rarely matters. It’s often enough to say something, implant it in people’s heads, and then quietly acknowledge that you were mistaken later.

        The press do it; print a libelous news headline, then retract it mid way through the newspapers. Even if the recive a fine for it, they usually make more from the sales of a scandalous heading, than the total amount of the fine.

        Courts even do it, make an exagerated or indeed false statement, then withdraw when an objection is made. The damage is done, the message is in peoples’ heads.

        I think it’s actually a genius method of communication, but it’s also dishonest. Which is why I guess so many people have lost faith in politics, the judiciary and the press.

  • Hello

    But he’s drawn attention to the disparity between Labour plans and the Labour manifesto, essentially saying that Labour were planning to do this on the sly. It’s a defence against Miliband’s idea that the Conservatives were doing deals with friends behind closed doors. It’s not a bad play.

    • telemachus

      No Hello
      The Tories are the true party of lies and liars
      I think Cameron will rue the day he told these lies and did not apologise

      • saffrin

        Neither party can be trusted on anything.
        Say hello to Nigel telemachus.

        • telemachus

          Miliband can be trusted to be fair
          On the subject of Kitty’s cake baking tonight I will be riveted

          • saffrin

            There isn’t anyone in today’s Parliament that can be trusted. Self-serving lying troughers everyone.

            • telemachus

              Wrong
              On average the Labour front bench are more open and have less question marks than the 2 parties opposite
              Further we can trust them to be fair

              • saffrin

                We can trust Labour (if they ever get re-elected) to promote kiddy fiddling in the same way they promoted those that take it up the…

                • telemachus

                  You know that was a Lynton Crosby spoiler to cover the further Downing street miscreant

                • saffrin

                  We know what we know and what we know is Parliament is full to the brim with two-faced self-serving liars.

                • telemachus

                  On the Speakers right

                • saffrin

                  Including the Speaker and his wife.

                • telemachus

                  Yes
                  There was a time when Speakers were taken outside….

                • saffrin

                  Yes, bribed with a seat next door to keep them from spilling the beans.

                • telemachus

                  Try William Tresham

                • saffrin

                  A Labour man was he?
                  I’ll stick with Michael Martin thanks.

              • Colonel Mustard
                • telemachus

                  I agree the armed forces and the nay in particular have been given a raw deal by the Coalition
                  Thankyou for pointing this out

                • Colonel Mustard

                  Twisting and dissembling again I see. The sailors are laughing at you and your funny little comments.

              • GnosticBrian

                You can also trust unemployment to rise as it has under EVERY Labour Government.

            • HookesLaw

              Hysterical.

            • Jambo25

              A bit OTT but generally accurate.

          • Kitty MLB

            Getting my mixing bowl and rolling pin ready for this evening.
            I expect Cleggie to be absolutely battered and will leave with
            egg on the face. Nothing beats a traditional English
            Fruit cake and a cup of earl grey tea.

            • telemachus

              Yes
              Earl Grey I like that
              All the Earls, Baronets and Colonels will be drooling

              • Kitty MLB

                Speaking of Colonels, I see you are running riot and creating
                havoc, you just wait until the good Colonel turns up and
                cooks your goose with one of his suitable ripostes.

                • telemachus

                  This thread is beneath him
                  There are some principles involved

            • Fergus Pickering

              Earl Grey is terribly good for you. I’ve fogotten how but it’s the bergamot. Keep drinking. Do you suppose the juniper in gin is good for me?

              • Kitty MLB

                Earl Grey is an acquired taste& bergamot good for the heart.
                Juniper in gin is good for you ,although, Scottish juniper was under threat ( old age, rabbits & fungus)
                Decadence is a summer afternoon in the garden with a large
                G& T ( always with a slice of lime) listening to bird song
                and keeping an eye on next doors furry assassins, who also likes the birds ( I hope yours, are not into mass murder)
                Earl Grey is also nice in the garden, but prefer Coffee when abroad, their tea is awful.
                Keep up with those G&T’s Fergus, do not let the side down !

                • Fergus Pickering

                  My cats are assassins like all cats. But in their case it’s mostly mice and moths.The birds are too quick for them. Oliver Cromwell is the only gin. Did I say?

                • Kitty MLB

                  Cromwell Gin, what’s the difference between that and Gordons Gin? I am not a connoisseur on these matters. And you have said you only drink Cromwell’s- ( with ice and lime I suggest )
                  Glad the bird population of you garden is safe, but have no pity
                  in regards to mice- wretched monsters- I deplore them.

                • Fergus Pickering

                  Cromwell’s gin is sold in Aldi and is thus cheaper than Gordons. In all sorts of blind tastings it has proved superior to Gordons. Make the switch now and spend the money you save … on more gin.

                  What is your position on the poor moths? And one of our cats nearly killed a bat.

                • Kitty MLB

                  Your cats would love our cottage- ‘ Death by Tiddles’ We have bats nesting in the Attic, a huge issue with ‘ poor moths’
                  blighting summer evenings by flying into the cottage.
                  But not as bad as cows wandering into your front garden as in the other place- they were a devil to remove !!! And make a mess, if you forget to shut the gate- We also had issues with little very posh old ladies, driving around without their chauffeurs – but never mind- the charm of rural England.
                  Tell your cats from me, to leave bats alone, delightful and
                  beautiful creatures, yes they are. They have lovely faces
                  soft fur and like flying into hair ( not keen on the wings though, I must admit- but they need them )
                  We shall take your advice and save some money by buying
                  the more superior Cromwell’s gin and more of it, who created
                  the word moderation ? it removes the joy out of life , it really
                  does, Fergus, it really does.

      • GnosticBrian

        Was multimillionaire Emily Thornbury telling the truth on today’s Daily Politics when she repeatedly said “The economy is getting worse!?

        • Mynydd

          Yes, when Labour left office the GNP was growing by 1%, the last quarter GNP was growing at 0.7%. You could also look at the National Debt; when Labour left office it was of the order of £790bn it is now of the order of £1300bn and rising.

          • GnosticBrian

            After causing the biggest recession in living memory – dead cat bounce! Of course the PSBR is expanding – Brown grew the public sector enourmously (without any noticeable improvement in services) and relied on a combination of taxes on false City profits plus a massive structural deficit. Super tankers take time to turn around even when on full helm. It will take generations to correct the ravages of B Liar / Gordon Brown.

    • Mynydd

      There was nothing in Labour’s 2005 and 2010 manifestos that differed from their plans. Mr Cameron and his supporters should keep quite and accept that the sale of the Royal Mail was a complete balls up

      • HJ777

        How can you know that about their plans? They didn’t get the chance to implement them.

        What is clear is that their manifesto didn’t rule out privatisation (full or partial). So who knows?

        • Jambo25

          It didn’t advocate it either. Ergo, Cameron is a liar.

          • HJ777

            His claim may have been incorrect, but it doesn’t automatically follow that he was lying.

            Perhaps he just made a factual error? Perhaps his memory was faulty? The last Labour government did propose selling off 30% of Royal Mail and the 2010 manifesto didn’t contradict this, so you can see where he might have gained this belief from.

            You are very keen to throw the “liar” tag around at anyone you don’t like. It is a very unpleasant trait.

            • Jambo25

              At PMQs Cameron will have been prepared to within an inch of his life to anticipate and counter possible questions. He has a team of permanent civil servants and spads to do this.

              • HJ777

                Who would obviously have primed him with a lie which they would know would be quickly identified.

                Yes, of course.

                • Jambo25

                  Somebody did. Otherwise why did Cameron tell the lie. I gave 3 alternatives. All are discreditable to Cameron.

                • HJ777

                  None three of the alternatives you gave imply that he lied.

                  For him to be lying it has to be a deliberate intent to lie. Otherwise it is not a lie, merely incorrect.

                  I realise that it is difficult for you to understand this but you have history of failing to understand anything you don’t want to understand.

                • Jambo25

                  It merely has to be him telling an untruth to the House of Commons which he clearly did as can be confirmed by a very quick perusal of the 2010 Labour manifesto. Ergo, he’s a liar.

                • HJ777

                  Saying something that is untrue does not automatically make it a lie.

                  Almost everything you write is wrong but not all of it is lies. I accept a more innocent explanation – you are just mentally incapable of understanding facts that contradict your beliefs.

                • Jambo25

                  It was lie. Factually checkable and wrong. Ergo a loe.

                • HJ777

                  Get yourself a dictionary, ignoramus.

                  Just because something is factually checkable and wrong does not automatically make it a lie.

                  It requires an intention to mislead or deceive. It has to be deliberate.

                  If you already knew this, then you are lying. Either that or you are intent on displaying your stupidity. More likely both.

                • Jambo25

                  More reversion to crude insult I see.

                • HJ777

                  No, a simple statement of fact. No insult.

                  You are ignorant of the meaning of the word “lie” even after it has been pointed out to you. That makes you an ignoramus (look it up in the dictionary, if you have one).

                  Repeating something that has been pointed out to be factually wrong, as you have done, makes you either a liar or stupid or both.

                • Jambo25

                  Of course, saying untrue things in public isn’t a lie. Its your hero, Cameron, so it cannot be and if it can be shown that he has made an untrue statement to the House of Commons (Commonly known as lying to the rest of us.) it must be because there was some kind of unfortunate mistake somewhere along the line. From your lofty position you can see into Cameron’s heart and know his motivation.

                • HJ777

                  So from the fact that I have pointed out that just because somebody has said something that is incorrect it does not automatically make them a liar (it is just one of several possibilities) and from the fact that I am not a Tory and am a regular critic of Cameron, you deduce that he is “my hero”.

                  If you are claiming that he was lying then it is you who is claiming that you can see into Cameron’s heart and know his motivation, since someone cannot lie unintentionally, by definition. I am saying that I do not claim to know – whereas you claim that you do know his motivation and from this have deduced that he was lying.

                  You really are a stranger to logical thought. It was always obvious that you can’t cope being presented with facts, but you have really taken the biscuit with this one.

                • Jambo25

                  Whether Cameron was lying intentionally or inadvertently is neither here nor there. He was lying however.
                  Let’s leave that aside, however, and have a little quiz. I’ll even give you the answers.
                  1) Have you heard of Peter Davies?
                  He was Osborne’s best bud at Oxford and Best Man in 1998. He works for Landsdowne Partners.
                  2) Have you heard of Paul Ruddock?
                  He was Chairman of Landsdowne Partners until just under 2 years ago. He gave £500,000 to Tory funds and became Sir Paul not long after. I’m sure the 2 things were completely unrelated.
                  3) Have you heard of Landsdowne Partners? They are a hedge fund and last year reportedly bought £50,000,000 of Royal Mail shares making £18,000,000 profit on day 1.
                  Sovereign wealth funds from Abu Dhabi, Singapore and Norway also got large tranches of shares and also, presumably, made huge profits on day 1. Unfortunately, a lot of private British individual buyers didn’t get the shares they wanted but their money was kept by the government until 27th October 2013 making HMG £300,000 in interest and presumably depriving the unsuccessful private buyers of same.

                • HJ777

                  You cannot, by definition, lie unintentionally. There has to be an intent to deceive or mislead. Without that, it is not lying.

                  Do you not possess a dictionary?

                  I can’t be bothered to read the rest of your boring and irrelevant diatribe. Character assassination is your game because you are incapable of constructing a coherent argument.

                • Jambo25

                  What character assassination? I distinctly said that I wasn’t saying that anyone had done anything unethical and all the information I quoted came from the one story in the impeccably Tory and City friendly Daily Telegraph. Why don’t you want to go on playing this game with your dictionary.

              • Fergus Pickering

                Does any of this matter? Not a jot.

                • Jambo25

                  As an individual event, no. However it all feeds into a view of Cameron as rather arrogant, sloppy on detail and slightly out of touch. Its not all that clever of Cameron to do so either. One of his assets is Miliband’s inability to project a prime ministerial image. He, therefore, should be projecting an image of himself as prime ministerial and a safe pair of hands. His behaviour, yesterday, certainly didn’t do that.

          • Colonel Mustard

            Brown advocated it.

            http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/gordon-brown/5279327/Gordon-Brown-to-press-ahead-with-Royal-Mail-part-privatisation-despite-Labour-rebels.html

            And his manifesto hid it within his “Tough choices” bullet points as detailed elsewhere. Don’t confuse Labour’s “Heads we win tails you lose” philosophy for anything approaching truth and honesty.

            • Jambo25

              It wasn’t in the 2010 manifesto so Cameron is a liar.

              • Colonel Mustard

                Nah, it was there, in Brown’s inimitable sleight of hand.

                http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/gordon-brown/5279327/Gordon-Brown-to-press-ahead-with-Royal-Mail-part-privatisation-despite-Labour-rebels.html

                Don’t be naive and do try to reconcile your SNP proclivities and dislike of the Tories. It is Labour who want to retain their 41 Scots MPs.

              • HJ777

                Does being wrong automatically make someone a liar?

                I know logic is not your strong point but I would have thought even you would acknowledge that someone can simply be mistaken without it following that they are a liar.

                • Jambo25

                  It used to if you told untruths to the House. You, at least, had to come back and grovelingly apologise.

                • HJ777

                  That has never applied to PMQs questions and answers which are hardly intended to be statements of undisputed fact.

                • Jambo25

                  That’s OK then PMs at PMQs can simply lie their heads off.

                • HJ777

                  “Lie their heads off”? Do grow up.

                  When it comes to an undisputed lie, you refused to comment when I mentioned Salmond’s lie about receiving legal advice over EU membership. You remember, the lie he spent £20k of UK taxpayers’ money trying to cover up.

                  Cameron’s claim was, indeed, incorrect. Was it a lie? Possibly, but more likely just an error considering that Labour’s policy prior to the election (and not actually changed in the manifesto) was part-privatisation of Royal Mail.

                • Jambo25

                  It was a lie.

                • HJ777

                  Prove it.

                • Jambo25

                  It was an untruth said in public. A lie.

                • HJ777

                  Repeating something does not constitute proof.

                  You need to look up the definition of the word “lie”. Do you possess a dictionary?

            • Jambo25

              Brown didn’t in the end as both his MPs and the public told him not to. Only the creepy Mandelson was fully in favour.

        • Mynydd

          The manifesto didn’t rule out a lot of things like the bombing Syria.

          • HJ777

            Part privatising the Royal Mail was a policy of the Labour government at the time though and the manifesto didn’t say it had changed.

    • 2trueblue

      The companies who did not keep tp the terms should be named publicly.
      A contract whether verbal or written is a contract and should be adhered to.

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