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PMQs: David Cameron jumps on Harriet Harman’s ‘tax bombshell’

16 July 2014

1:42 PM

16 July 2014

1:42 PM

David Cameron cut his political teeth on the 1992 election campaign. He has long told colleagues that he think 2015 will be a very similar election to 1992. Today he seized on what the Tories see as this cycle’s Labour ‘tax bombshell’. He gleefully read out this quote from Harriet Harman:

‘I think people on middle incomes should contribute more through their taxes’.

Now, the quote in context is far less damaging than it initially appears. Harman appears to be defending progressive taxation as a concept rather than proposing any new taxes. But Ed Miliband appeared blindsided by the quote and the result was Cameron strolling through the session.

I suspect the problem for Labour will be that this quote sets a hare running, that interviewers now start asking Labour to rule out any tax rises on anyone earning less than £150,000 a year. Fundamentally, I think Labour will have to have a clear line on which taxes it won’t raise by the campaign. For, as today showed, the Tories are itching to suggest that Labour’s plans require a big hike in taxation on the middle class. ​

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