Ed M disliked Byrne’s hard line on welfare


by Sunny Hundal    
6:38 pm - May 21st 2012

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Total Politics magazine has an profile on Ed Miliband this month by the FT journalist Jim Pickard.

There’s an interesting anecdote there that confirms some of my own suspicions.

Others to have fallen out with the leader include Liam Byrne, the Blairite shadow pensions secretary, who subsequently declared his intention to run for Birmingham mayor.

The two clashed over Byrne’s desire for a tougher approach to welfare.

“Ed became sick of Liam always telling him what to do, to do it this way, that way,” says one source.

Unfortunately that’s all there is on that subject.

Liam Byrne is still hanging on to the DWP portfolio by the skin of his teeth.

Unless he starts coming up with genuinely thoughtful ideas on welfare (rather than waffling about Beveridge and welfare scroungers) I doubt he will stay there for long.

Update: Eugene Grant has some suggestions for Liam Byrne on welfare reform.

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Reader comments


Lets hope you’re right Sunny.

It would be a massive step forward if Labour broke decisively with the poisonous rhetoric of the feral British media and started making positive arguments in favour of the welfare state.

Liam Byrne is one of the odious and overrated men in British politics.

He should go now, there are disabled people living in fear of this hideous government who need to know that Labour is on their side and will take up their cause. What is happening to them is not fair and it is not right and it is a dreadful indictment on our society today that people are living terrified of what their government is doing and going to do to them. My message to Ed is I am positive you know what you are doing and you’ll do what is right, but please, please, please help disabled people, let them know you are on their side.

Hmm. After Miliband’s infamous “I met a man” speech and Labour in general’s sparse and late opposition to the coalition’s welfare cuts bill, it’ll take more than an anonymous briefing that he sometimes disagrees with the general political consensus before I consider him to have any credibility on the matter.

4. Planeshift

There is a simple way to test labour’s policy on welfare – what are they doing in areas where they have power?

Council tax benefit and the social risk fund is being devolved to Scotland, Wales, NI, and local authorities in England (after a 10% cut). Labour are in power in Wales, and several local authorities in England.

Lets see who is doing what:

In Scotland the SNP are funding the shortfall for a couple of years to keep the system running whilst they look at long term replacements – which will hopefully lead to full change in the way local authorities are financed as that is the logical way forward.

In Wales, the welsh government didn’t know that the benefits were being devolved until several charities and opposition parties pointed it out. They then decided the best response was to do nothing and blame the tories for cutting it and ask the electorate to vote for them to ‘send a message to cameron’. They flat out refused the call made by charities and plaid cymru to fund the shortfall for 1 year in order to buy time to consider a longer term response that wasn’t going to penalise the poor. In their safest part of the UK, with an administration that faces next to no pressure from the media (tabloids seem to not even know it exists) to be tough on benefits, they still failed to do the right thing.

I don’t know what local authorities in England intend to do, but one would hope at least some of them are aware of what is coming.

Ed M still has a lot of a work to do.

A lot of councils will just stop offering crisis loans with devolved funding. It will not just be Tory and Lib Dem councils.


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Eugene Grant

    Ed M disliked Liam Byrne’s approach to welfare | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/lwyQupyI via @libcon

  2. Eugene Grant

    @sunny_hundal points out Ed M's dislike of Byrne's approach to welfare > http://t.co/GMNMKcb9

  3. Eugene Grant

    Unless Byrne comes up w/ ideas on welfare, not just waffle about Beveridge, he might not Shadow DWP for long > http://t.co/GMNRhMc3 @libcon

  4. Eugene Grant

    I agree w/ @sunny_hundal on Liam Byrne > http://t.co/GMNRhMc3; here's my take on why LB needs real ideas, and quick > http://t.co/sSUZVgSl

  5. Emma Round

    @sunny_hundal points out Ed M's dislike of Byrne's approach to welfare > http://t.co/GMNMKcb9

  6. TeresaMary

    Ed M disliked Liam Byrne’s approach to welfare | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/lwyQupyI via @libcon

  7. Eugene Grant

    Ed M disliked Liam Byrne's approach to welfare http://t.co/AgF1vhpI

  8. sunny hundal

    Turns out Ed Miliband dislikes Liam Byrne’s hard line on welfare. Here's what I got http://t.co/UsovhHqJ

  9. Tom King

    Turns out Ed Miliband dislikes Liam Byrne’s hard line on welfare. Here's what I got http://t.co/UsovhHqJ

  10. pip

    Turns out Ed Miliband dislikes Liam Byrne’s hard line on welfare. Here's what I got http://t.co/UsovhHqJ

  11. BendyGirl

    Ed M disliked Byrne’s hard line on welfare | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/lwyLWPpy via @libcon

  12. BevR

    Ed M disliked Byrne’s hard line on welfare | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/lwyLWPpy via @libcon

  13. BevR

    Ed M disliked Byrne’s hard line on welfare | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/wwvBG5QV via @libcon

  14. Lilacwheelz

    Ed M disliked Byrne’s hard line on welfare | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/lwyLWPpy via @libcon

  15. Eugene Grant

    If u read @sunny_hundal http://t.co/GMNMKcb9 & my own http://t.co/1U2uH6y6, look @ this http://t.co/BP0WZxJS. Pol. Review has nothing 2 show

  16. Jonathan Taylor

    Hardly surprising but useful to know. RT @libcon: Ed M disliked Liam Byrne's approach to welfare http://t.co/0IUMkTLD

  17. Suzy Franklin

    Hardly surprising but useful to know. RT @libcon: Ed M disliked Liam Byrne's approach to welfare http://t.co/0IUMkTLD

  18. Alex Braithwaite

    Ed M disliked Byrne’s hard line on welfare | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/hpdmYJoR via @libcon

  19. not1fish

    Ed M disliked Byrne’s hard line on welfare | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/hpdmYJoR via @libcon

  20. DarrellGoodliffe

    Ed M disliked Byrne’s hard line on welfare | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/lclAdgDR via @libcon<<<err sack him then





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