JOHN MCDONNELL suffered an embarrassing moment on BBC Radio 4 when his stark criticism of Boris Johnson and the Conservative Party massively backfired.
The Shadow Chancellor accused the Prime Minister of using the London Bridge terrorist attack as “an opportunity”. Asked whether he wished anything had gone differently during the election campaign, he said: “I just wish we have had the Conservatives being honest with us. I just wish we hadn’t been having this gutter politics, fake websites, lies and smears. I just wish also they would have respected the parents of Jack Merritt who was killed on our streets.
“I wish Boris Johnson had not seen that as to quote the father of Jack Merritt, as ‘an opportunity’. I just wish he’d shown sympathy and respect and empathy.
“I just wish Boris Johnson had shown empathy about a child being treated, suffering from pneumonia lying on a hospital floor. That’s the sort of politics the Conservatives now have under Johnson.”
But BBC host Mishal Husain promptly hit back as she pointed out it was Labour’s claims her team had to reality check and question over the course of the election campaign.
She said: “But on this question of trust there have been plenty of times over this campaign where it is your claims that we’ve had to reality check.
“For example, I would point out, that some of the assertions you’ve made have not been ones that have been costed in your manifesto.
“There is a big question mark. The WASPI women for example.
“Even with the figures you came up with later on, we still don’t know how it’s going to be paid for.”
The awkward moment comes after Labour’s health spokesman’s conversation with a “friend” in which he said the situation for his party was “dire” was leaked.
Questioned on BBC Radio 4, Mr McDonnell said his colleague Jonathan Ashworth was “joshing” after he was secretly recorded questioning party leader Jeremy Corbyn’s suitability for office.
Mr McDonnell said: “As Jonathan Ashworth has said that was ‘banter’.
“He was trying to entice his Conservative, well, so-called friend, into a discussion that was more banter than anything else, he made that absolutely clear.”
He added: “He was in a joshing mood, that is what he said and I believe him.
“It’s interesting, it says more about this so-called Conservative friend than Jonathan Ashworth.
“What sort of friend records a telephone conversation like that and then gives it to a conservative disruptive website?
“But that’s the nature of Conservative politics now.
“That’s what Boris Johnson has dragged the Tory Party into.
“I think it’s dishonourable, I think it’s gutter politics. But it says more about Conservative politics than it does about anything Jonathan Ashworth who has behaved completely properly.”