Laura Kuenssberg discusses Labour's stance towards lobbying
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Labour’s stance amid the ongoing lobbying scandal facing Boris Johnson’s government may prove to be “manna from heaven” for the Conservatives, according to Laura Kuenssberg. The political expert was invited on the BBC Newscast podcast to discuss Labour’s shining the spotlight on the Prime Minister’s relationship with the businessman Sir James Dyson. Sir Keir Starmer’s party are crying out “sleaze,” however Kuenssberg suggested the allegations from Labour may playing into Boris Johnson’s hands politically.
Private text messages published first by the BBC have revealed conversations between Boris Johnson and Sir Dyson at the beginning of the pandemic.
In them, Mr Johnson promised to “fix” tax changes the entrepreneur wanted to secure ventilator supplies amid concerns the UK wouldn’t have enough to cope with at the height of the pandemic.
Ms Kuenssberg told listeners: “These kinds of contacts are meant to be transparent.
“They are mean to be open. Any business, any organisation, any individual is meant to have the same level of access.
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“Of course Labour have been saying thing like ‘well, look this risks looking like if you can send a text message you can bag a tax break.’
“It is mana from heaven in a sense for Boris Johnson’s critics.”
Although Kuenssberg adds, the stance chosen by Labour may also highlight to the public the lengths to which the Prime Minister was willing to go to secure much needed medical equipment in the midst of the health crisis.
She said: “One Tory MP was texting me today saying ‘I think Labour are doing a mistake’ because all it is doing is reminding people how much Boris Johnson had to really do at the beginning of the pandemic.
Tony Blair reacts to James Dyson and Boris Johnson’s texts
The political expert added: “It is very clear that Labour is determinedly trying to build a narrative here.
“Whenever they get the chance that somehow this government wants to put its own before the public.
“There is sorted of crooked things going on all over the place, those are the kinds of narratives that they are trying to build.”
At Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday, Sir Keir challenged the Prime Minister directly over the allegations those with political connections to the Conservative Government had been able to cash in favors during the pandemic.
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The Labour leader said: “Every day there are new allegations about this Conservative government: dodgy PPE deals; tax breaks for their mates; the health secretary owns shares in a company delivering NHS services.
“Sleaze, sleaze, sleaze, and it’s all on his watch.”
However, the Prime Minister insisted there had been nothing underhand about his contact with Sir Dyson, insisting he had done the “right thing”.
He told MPs: “I make absolutely no apology at all for shifting heaven and earth and doing everything I possibly could, as I think any prime minister would in those circumstances, to secure ventilators for the people of this country.”
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