Rob Marris MP* has just denied that he will quit if the government doesn’t bring in a windfall tax.
Here are his comments to me over the phone just now:
“It is not correct, I never said that…at least not in terms of resigning over a windfall tax. I wasn’t talking about resigning over anything. I didn’t make myself clear. I never said or indicated that I would resign over a lack of a windfall tax. My position is, a backbencher or junior MP supports his or her government depending on the policies put forward by that party. An extreme example is, if a government announced that they were going to introduce a flat rate of income tax at 20 per cent my enthusiasm for supporting a Labour government would be markedly decreased for obvious reasons.”
“My enthusiasm for remaining a pps depends on the policy. What we need, and I did make this clear, the difficulty facing the Labour government. It’s not the effect of the leadership, but of policy. We need new policies in the autumn, and I’m presuming we’re going to get these. One of these under consideration, and which I’m on record supporting, is a windfall tax, but it is not a deal breaker for me. It is not like 28 days (pre-trial detention of terror suspects), on that I supported 90 days, that is the sort of issue which raises strong views on both sides, a big issue of principle, that is the kind of resigning issue. A windfall tax is not a resigning issue and I never indicated that it was.”
* Rob Marris is MP for Wolverhampton South West and parliamentary private secretary to Shaun Woodward, secretary of state for Northern Ireland
Incidentally, the nearly-80 names of Labour MPs on the Compass petition, calling for a windfall tax….how many have already signed early day motions saying the same thing?
For starters, there are 47 Labour MPs on Fabian Hamilton’s EDM, put forward in January. There are 35 on Lindsay Hoyle’s EDM, written in July. (He did a previous EDM on this in February, which has 30 Labour signatures). There are 48 on Desmond Turner’s EDM from June. Some MPs will have signed all of these motions.
So the question for Compass is this: How many of your names are new?
Okay, I’ve done the maths. About half the names – 35 by my calculation – have not already signed an EDM on this. There are also dozens of names who HAVE signed EDMs but aren’t on the Compass petition….suggesting that it has the scope to grow, maybe past 100.
So far the group tells me it has 75 on the record, plus 7 “sympathisers”, mostly pps’s, who don’t want to go public.