‘Winning battle of ideas’: Shadow chancellor ‘most optimistic’ about Labour’s future in 12.5 years as MP

Politics

Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves has said she’s never felt so optimistic about the future of the Labour party in her more than 12 years as an MP.

Speaking to Sky News’ Kay Burley, Ms Reeves called Sir Keir Starmer a “brilliant man” and said that under his leadership, the party is finally “winning the battle of ideas”.

She said: “I’ve never felt as optimistic about the future for Labour in the twelve and a half years I’ve been an MP as I am today.

Politics live: Minister refuses to comment on plummeting pound

“Under Keir’s leadership, Labour are winning the battle of ideas, finally, and I am confident that at the next election we can persuade people who have left Labour in recent years to come back to Labour.”

Ms Reeves said she was “sick” of being in opposition and wants to be in government to “fix” the problems facing the economy.

She said: I am sick of opposition. I want to be not the shadow chancellor, but the chancellor of the exchequer – actually able to fix some of these problems in our economy today.

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The Labour frontbencher said people will hear more about her party’s vision for the economy when she delivers a speech at the annual conference in Liverpool later today.

The shadow chancellor will set out the party’s industrial strategy and outline details for a National Wealth Fund – meaning that when money is spent on projects, British people would own a share of that wealth and benefit from the returns on those investments.

Ms Reeves said the economy is in a “serious situation” following the mini-budget on Friday.

The pound has fallen to a 37-year-low against the dollar after Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng unveiled the biggest programme of tax cuts for 50 years.

Earlier on Sky News, Work and Pensions Secretary Chloe Smith refused to comment on the plummeting pound as she defended the government’s controversial “growth plan”.

Economic experts have accused the government of “betting the house” with tax cuts which primarily benefit the highest earners, but ministers insist the measures will encourage more investment and spark growth.

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Minister refuses to comment on pound drop

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When asked if she was alarmed by the reaction of the markets, Ms Smith said: “I’m not going to be able to comment on particular market movements and there are various factors that always go into those.”

But Ms Reeves said she used to work at the Bank of England and has “never seen anything like this”.

She said: “What we need to hear from the government is a credible plan for the public finances and a credible plan to grow the economy. And it is because we got neither of those on Friday that markets have reacted in the way that they have.”

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