Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves said Labour would ‘drain the swamp’ (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)
22 January 2023

Reeves vows Labour would ‘drain the swamp’ amid Tory scandals

22 January 2023

A Labour government would “drain the swamp”, Rachel Reeves vowed as she accused the Conservatives of sleaze over a series of scandals.

The shadow chancellor also confirmed that Labour would freeze the energy price cap, which is due to rise this spring, for a further three months.

Ms Reeves criticised Rishi Sunak’s Government amid reports over Tory chairman Nadhim Zahawi’s tax settlement with HMRC, and claims that BBC chairman Richard Sharp helped Boris Johnson secure a loan weeks before the then-prime minister recommended him for the job.

It’s going to take an incoming Labour government to clean up this mess, drain the swamp, because, frankly, it stinks

She told the BBC’s Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg programme: “We’ve got a situation now in the Conservative Party where you’ve got the chairman, who used to be the chancellor, who it looks like has been fined a million pounds or more for not paying his taxes.

“You’ve got a Deputy Prime Minister who’s being investigated for bullying claims, and you’ve got a former prime minister who it is alleged had his extravagant lifestyle funded by a donor who was facilitated by the current chairman of the BBC, who instantly got that job just after facilitating that arrangement.

“No-one seemed to think there was any need to declare anything in terms of conflicts of interest.

“And you’ve got a Prime Minister who is too weak to do anything about it.

“It’s going to take an incoming Labour government to clean up this mess, drain the swamp, because, frankly, it stinks.”

Asked whether cabinet ministers would publish their tax returns under a Labour government, she said: “I would be happy to do that if that was the thing that was necessary.”

The shadow chancellor on Saturday announced plans to toughen up the windfall tax on oil and gas companies and stop the energy price cap from increasing in April.

Asked how long support on energy bills would last, she said: “We’ve made a commitment for three months, but we think we could raise an additional £13 billion through the windfall tax and this announcement that I’ve made about freezing the price cap at £2,500 for a further three months costs a fraction of that.”

Pressed on what would happen after three months, she said: “We’ve always said that we would look at it depending on what’s happening to oil, gas and electricity prices.

“If those prices fall, then that should be reflected in people’s bills.”

Both Ms Reeves and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer were at the World Economic Forum in Davos this week, rubbing shoulders with international movers and shakers.

She said: “In the last few years, investment into Britain has fallen, our exports have taken a hit and our growth and productivity have been on the floor.

“Keir Starmer and myself want to say, with an incoming Labour government, Britain would be very much open for business.

“I’m determined that Britain doesn’t miss out in this global race for the jobs of the future. And that’s why Keir Starmer and myself were putting forward our plans to business leaders.”

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