John McDonnell's 'murder' accusation is rejected by his own shadow cabinet colleague

Written by James Millar on 26 June 2017 in Diary

Signs that Labour infighting is starting up again as John Healey distances himself from shadow chancellor's strong language

Labour MPs have lined up to criticise shadow chancellor John McDonnell after he said victims of the Grenfell Tower fire were “murdered”.

Speaking at an event at the Glastonbury festival over the weekend McDonnell said the people who died in the tower block inferno “were murdered by political decisions that were taken over recent decades.”

That’s been viewed by some as a swipe at the New Labour administrations that were in power before 2010 as well as the later Conservative led governments that imposed austerity measures.

McDonnell added: “The decision not to build homes and to view housing as only for financial speculation rather than for meeting a basic human need made by politicians over decades murdered those families. The decision to close fire stations and to cut 10,000 fire fighters and then to freeze their pay for over a decade contributed to those deaths inevitably, and they were political decisions.”

However shadow housing minister John Healey, who served as Gordon Brown's housing minister, distanced himself from McDonnell’s rhetoric in an interview on the Radio 4 Today programme.

And Jim Fitzpatrick, who chairs the all-party parliamentary group on fire safety and who will lead a debate in the Commons on the issue tonight, also rejected the shadow chancellor’s choice of language. He said: “Jumping to conclusions and pointing a finger of blame at this point, I think, is somewhat premature.”

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