Peston can’t get word in as Nandy and McDonnell tear each other apart

Robert Peston could barely get a word in on his TV show this evening, as the Labour Party’s John McDonnell and Lisa Nandy tore into one another over the Labour Party new ad campaign. The two politicians found themselves in a heated debate over the topic, which has caused controversy for the party in recent weeks. Mr McDonnell said the adverts were “unacceptable”.

But Ms Nandy hit back, reminding Mr McDonnell that he was a senior member of the Labour party when it was found to have breached equality laws over antisemitism, saying: “I will not take lessons from you about civility in politics.”

The advert, published by Sir Keir Starmer’s party, claimed Rishi Sunak does not think child sex abusers should go to prison.

The poster cited Ministry of Justice figures that 4,500 adults convicted of sexually assaulting children have avoided jail and instead received community or suspended sentences since 2010.

Hitting out at the adverts on the ITV show, Mr McDonnell said: “I think it’s important that we debate the issue – hard debate the issue. Lisa’s right on this.

“But let me just say something. I know you Lisa. This is not you. This is not you. You never go for the person in this individual way. You go for the facts. You go for the policy issue.” 

Ms Nandy interjected saying: “The facts are right there.”

Mr McDonnell continued: “The facts are there, but the reference with regard to Rishi is unacceptable. Take Michelle Obama’s advice – when they go low, and that’s exactly what Braverman and Rishi have done – we go high. We’re better than them.” 

But Ms Nandy hit back: “Can I just gently say to you John. First of all, I don’t accept that the Prime Minister of this country shouldn’t take responsibility.”

Mr McDonnell interrupted saying: “No one is arguing that -” 

Hitting out at the former shadow Chancellor’s record in Government, Ms Nandy added: “You were a senior member of the labour party when we were found to have breached equality laws by the equality and human rights commission, and brought us to our lowest point in our hundred year history. So I will not take lessons from you about civility in politics.”

The ad has been marred by criticism from both inside and out of the party. 

Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper distanced herself from the advert, claiming she was not consulted about it. 

Meanwhile, Lloyd Russell-Moyle, Labour MP for Brighton, Kempton, criticised the ads, warning they could backfire and “harm” the party in some parts of the country.

He told the Independent: “I’ve expressed my disquiet about it the very highest level of the party, and my concern that it might have a negative electoral impact in Brighton.”

One senior Labour backbencher said numerous MPs had complained to Sir Keir about the ad, saying it had caused deep frustration across the party.

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