Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Politics
  2. UK Politics
10 February 2023

What is Labour’s cryptic countdown all about?

Does the party think it has uncovered a Conservative financial scandal?

By The Chatterer

Yesterday afternoon Westminster reporters received a strange email from the Labour communications team. A sinister black screen showed a very specific countdown, ticking down – 2 days, 18 hours, 19 minutes, 13 seconds and counting – to Monday morning.

Above the countdown was a tree, looking suspiciously similar to the Conservative party logo – but without any leaves, its branches broken.

What does it mean? The scrapping of the Labour’s Green Prosperity Fund? Another six weeks of winter? The end of the magic money tree?

A little white later the Labour communications Twitter account changed its name to “The GPC Files”. A website with the same name emerged, its thumbnail a black credit card with the tree logo at the top. The card is valid from 01/21 to 12/21, and registered in the name of the “Conservative Government” and Rishi Sunak. A reference to the government procurement card, the method by which the government buys products and services?

It’s all very dramatic, but just what has Labour uncovered? Rumours have been circulating around Westminster for quite some time that a certain news team has been holed up looking through Conservative Party finances in the wake of a number of financial scandals. So far these rumours have amounted to very little, however. Despite the Chatterer’s enquiries, we are still none the wiser. Labour sources say they are sworn to secrecy. Journalists are stumped.

Select and enter your email address Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. A weekly newsletter helping you fit together the pieces of the global economic slowdown. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email on the politics, business and culture of the climate and nature crises - in your inbox every Thursday. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. Your guide to the best writing across politics, ideas, books and culture - both in the New Statesman and from elsewhere - sent each Saturday. A newsletter showcasing the finest writing from the ideas section, covering political ideas, philosophy, criticism and intellectual history - sent every Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how New Statesman Media Group may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.

We now wait to see what Monday morning brings. It’ll probably be a sleepless weekend for No 10, and considering that Boris Johnson was the incumbent prime minister in 2021, it won’t be an easy few days for him either.

Content from our partners
A better future starts at home
How to create an inclusive workplace and embrace neurodiversity
Universal Credit falls short of covering the bare essentials. That needs to change

Whatever the Labour team thinks they have found, they clearly believe it is something big, something sinister – and something that will cause a major headache for the Prime Minister.

[See also: Rishi Sunak, the man who isn’t there]

Topics in this article :