by Kevin Meagher
Is Harriet Harman the victim of an unfair Tory attack for seeming to suggesting that middle-income earners should pay more tax?
No, she is not. Neither, for that matter, has she been misquoted. She did say that middle-income earners should pay more tax. Labour’s deputy leader was guilty of a clumsy circumlocution, telling LBC radio on Monday that:
“I think people on middle incomes should contribute more through their taxes”.
Let’s be clear, if she was making a general point about the desirability of a progressive taxation system, then fine. Indeed, she seems to have meant:
“I think people on middle incomes should contribute through their taxes”.
But that’s not what she said. She is guilty of committing an unforced error, using unforgivably loose terminology in a broadcast interview. For a senior frontbencher of her experience it was an amateurish thing to do and has played straight into the Tories’ gleeful hands.
Last night she wrote to David Cameron accusing him of telling fibs:
“You claimed at Prime Minister’s Questions today that ‘yesterday Labour announced – in an important announcement – that it is now their policy to put up taxes on middle income people’. This is not true. It is a lie.”
Tory party chairman Grant Schapps has also been busy. He has written to everyone he has an email address for, launching a poster campaign that the Tories must have been itching to release.