Alun Michael: a concession was painted as a climbdown

Former Welsh Secretary and first minister Alun Michael says the 10p tax issue played very badly with

Labour's Alun Michael says the 10p tax debacle was a big issue on the doorstep in the run up to the 1 May elections and by the time concessions came from Number 10 people felt it was too little, too late.

Michael, who represents Cardiff South and Penarth, said the prime minister's reaction to concerns that the abolition of the tax band would hit the poorest in our society was being painted as a climbdown and not a concession borne out of listening to people.

"It's been particularly unfair on Gordon as he's put such effort into tacking poverty across Britain. There was a perception that the decision on the 10p tax band was going against Labour values. When the concessions came they came too late to be potent in persuading voters."

On the particular situation in Wales, Michael said the picture was very mixed. He pointed out that as well as Labour losses, Plaid Cymru had suffered defeats in their heartland as well.

Ben Davies trained as a journalist after taking most of the 1990s off. Prior to joining the New Statesman he spent five years working as a politics reporter for the BBC News website. He lives in North London.
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Cabinet audit: what does the appointment of Liam Fox as International Trade Secretary mean for policy?

The political and policy-based implications of the new Secretary of State for International Trade.

Only Nixon, it is said, could have gone to China. Only a politician with the impeccable Commie-bashing credentials of the 37th President had the political capital necessary to strike a deal with the People’s Republic of China.

Theresa May’s great hope is that only Liam Fox, the newly-installed Secretary of State for International Trade, has the Euro-bashing credentials to break the news to the Brexiteers that a deal between a post-Leave United Kingdom and China might be somewhat harder to negotiate than Vote Leave suggested.

The biggest item on the agenda: striking a deal that allows Britain to stay in the single market. Elsewhere, Fox should use his political capital with the Conservative right to wait longer to sign deals than a Remainer would have to, to avoid the United Kingdom being caught in a series of bad deals. 

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. He usually writes about politics.