LABOUR’s Rebecca Long-Bailey suffered an intense grilling by BBC host Charlie Stayt as she failed to provide exact figures on her party policy to lift poverty in the UK if elected to a majority government at the next general election.
The Labour frontbencher claimed her party will launch a programme to ensure energy bills for millions in the UK will be lowered by providing new insulation and gas boilers. But when BBC host Charlie Stayt asked to provide figures on the number of households that will be affected by the new policy, she failed to come up with specifics three times. She said: “Last week I announced the ‘A warm home for all’ programme, a programme that would insulate people’s homes, 27 million homes across the country, and would embrace the new renewable technologies of the future – all the way from solar to heat pumps to looking at the heating systems to make sure they are more effective to bring bills down.
“And also, ultimately, decarbonise homes.
“Now, discussions with the building sector and the heat and engineer sector have suggested that the capacity is there.
“Of course it would need to be expanded, we’d have to start off slowly to begin with while we provided that skill funding.
“But it is achievable.”
The BBC host challenged her: “Hang on, so let’s talk about specifics of that plan you’ve got.
“This is about insulations, new gas boilers, so put a timeframe on it.
“How soon will that happen?”
As she claimed the plan would be fully implemented by 2030, Mr Stayt replied: “But 2030 is a long way down the line.
“In the first four years how a Labour government how many households will have got what you’re talking about?
“Specific to that policy.”
In an attempt to dodge the question, Ms Long-Bailey said: “With that plan, we’re starting off with those who are living in socially rented accommodation and on lower incomes.
“We’ll be doing that on a street by street basis.”
But as the BBC host insisted once again on the number of homes that would be affected in the first four years, she admitted: “Well, we can’t put an exact number on the homes.”
Stunned by the shocking admission, Mr Stayt said: “You have no figures at all?”
The BBC host tried one more time to get the Labour MP to come up with a specific number as she claimed the party had a “phase-based approach” to the policy.
Eventually, the Labour frontbencher claimed that by 2020 – in contrast with the 2030 deadline she had previously pledged – the party will lift 3.5 million people out of poverty.
The awkward interview comes as former Gordon Brown aide Ian Austin urged “decent patriotic Labour voters” to vote for Boris Johnson.
Mr Austin claimed Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn is not fit to govern and that the party under his leadership has become an “absolute disgrace”.