Theresa May attacks Diane Abbott over her police policy

2 May

Theresa May tonight tore into Diane Abbott for now knowing how much it costs to implement her party’s promise to recruit more police – saying it shows the Corbyn ally is unfit to serve in government.

Mrs Abbott was humiliated today after a car-crash interview in which she said it would cost just £300,000 to pay for an extra 10,000 police officers.

She later upper this to £80million, but this would still fall far short and only give each policeman an annual salary of £8,000. The policy is actually costed at £300m a year by 2021/22.

The Prime Minister today said the blunder was no laughing matter and shows the chaos that lies ahead if Jeremy Corbyn is elected PM on June 8.

The PM, pictured at a campaign rally tonight, said Diane Abbott's failure to know her sums on the policing pledge show the chaos that would ensue under a Jeremy Corbyn premiership

The PM, pictured at a campaign rally tonight, said Diane Abbott's failure to know her sums on the policing pledge show the chaos that would ensue under a Jeremy Corbyn premiership

The PM, pictured at a campaign rally tonight, said Diane Abbott’s failure to know her sums on the policing pledge show the chaos that would ensue under a Jeremy Corbyn premiership

The PM, pictured at the rally, said Mrs Abbott needs to take another look at her figures

The PM, pictured at the rally, said Mrs Abbott needs to take another look at her figures

The PM, pictured at the rally, said Mrs Abbott needs to take another look at her figures

Asked about policing, she told a campaign rally in Bristol tonight: ‘Now you mentioned the figures that Diane Abbott has used this morning, and I think she was suggesting that you can employ a police officer for £8,000 a head.

‘I think she needs to have another look at her figures.

‘Now some people are laughing at this, but actually this is very serious. Diane Abbott wants to be home secretary in our country.

‘I think that shows people yet again the very clear choice between the strong and stable leadership of the Conservative Party in government, and the coalition of chaos there would be under Jeremy Corbyn.’

Ms Abbott was left stuttering stuttering as she failed to answer the simple question of how much it would cost to implement Labour’s policing pledge.  

The toe-curling appearance on LBC radio raises fresh questions a bout the basic competence of Mr Corbyn’s shadow cabinet team. 

Although Mr Corbyn tried to claim he had not been ’embarrassed’ by his senior colleague.

Diane Abbott winced as her shambolic interview with LBC was played back when she appeared on the BBC's Daily Politics today

Diane Abbott winced as her shambolic interview with LBC was played back when she appeared on the BBC's Daily Politics today

Diane Abbott winced as her shambolic interview with LBC was played back when she appeared on the BBC’s Daily Politics today

Presenter Nick Ferrari was left bemused by Ms Abbott's shambolic performance on his LBC show today

Presenter Nick Ferrari was left bemused by Ms Abbott's shambolic performance on his LBC show today

Presenter Nick Ferrari was left bemused by Ms Abbott’s shambolic performance on his LBC show today

Asked how much the policy would cost, Ms Abbott said: ‘Well, erm… if we recruit the 10,000 policemen and women over a four-year period, we believe it will be about £300,000.’

Presenter Nick Ferrari replied: ‘£300,000 for 10,000 police officers? What are you paying them?’

A confused Ms Abbott replied : ‘Haha, no. I mean… sorry. They will cost… they will, it will cost, erm, about… about £80million.’

Ferrari suggested even that would mean paying each police officer just £8,000 over four years – or £2,000 annually. The average salary of an officer is around £30,000.

A floundering Ms Abbott, who was not in the studio but could be heard frantically leafing through papers, said: ‘We get to that figure because we anticipate recruiting 25,000 extra police officers a year at least over a period of four years and we’re looking at both what average police wages are generally, but also specifically police wages in London.’ 

Despite her dire performance, Ms Abbott insisted the plan was fully-costed and fully-thought-through. She said it would be paid for by reversing the Conservative cuts to Capital Gains Tax.

‘Of course it’s been thought through,’ she said. 

But Labour eventually clarified that the correct cost figure was actually £300million. 

Mr Corbyn stepped in to try to clear up the mess his close friend had made as he campaigned in Southampton later.

He insisted the police pledge would cost £300million – but denied that he had been ’embarrassed’ by her dismal showing. 

‘Not at all,’ he told reporters. ‘We have corrected the figure. And it will be absolutely clear now, today, and in the manifesto. I am not embarrassed in the slightest.’

On the BBC’s Daily Politics programme, Ms Abbott winced as the LBC interview was played back to her.

But she dismissed jibes that she had ‘completely fluffed it’, saying: ‘I do know my figures.’

She said she had conducted seven interviews and only one had gone disastrously wrong. 

Shadow home secretary Diane Abbott, pictured on ITV's GMB today, was left stuttering as she struggled to answer simple questions in a separate interview about a pledge to put 10,000 more officers on the streets

Shadow home secretary Diane Abbott, pictured on ITV's GMB today, was left stuttering as she struggled to answer simple questions in a separate interview about a pledge to put 10,000 more officers on the streets

Shadow home secretary Diane Abbott, pictured on ITV’s GMB today, was left stuttering as she struggled to answer simple questions in a separate interview about a pledge to put 10,000 more officers on the streets

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn stepped in to try to clear up the mess his close ally had made as he campaigned in Southampton today

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn stepped in to try to clear up the mess his close ally had made as he campaigned in Southampton today

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn stepped in to try to clear up the mess his close ally had made as he campaigned in Southampton today

Home Secretary Amber Rudd said Ms Abbott’s shambolic interview showed the ‘chaos’ that Labour would bring to government. 

‘Diane Abbott has laid bare the chaos that Britain would face if Jeremy Corbyn is voted into Downing Street,’ she said.

‘One of Corbyn’s closest allies has clearly shown that Labour’s sums don’t add up, they would weaken our defences, and their nonsensical promises aren’t worth the paper they are printed on.’ 

Labour says the policing pledge for England and Wales would be funded by dropping the government’s plans to cut the higher rate of CGT from 28 per cent to 20 per cent and basic rate from 18 per cent to 10 per.

However, the Conservatives dismissed the proposal as ‘nonsensical’, saying Labour had already committed the CGT savings to fund other pledges.

Labour said that under its plan, funding would be provided for the 43 forces in England and Wales to take on 10,000 additional officers in community policing roles – the equivalent of one officer for every electoral ward.

Mr Corbyn attacked ‘unacceptable’ cuts to policing under the Tories, with a 20,000 fall in officer numbers since the Conservatives came to power in 2010.

‘Cutting police numbers especially when there is more crime to deal with is unacceptable. The safety of our communities is vital to us all,’ he said.

‘Community policing means uniformed officers being visible, local and accessible. They engage with the public, have a detailed local knowledge and build a network of relationships.’

Home Secretary Amber Rudd said Labour’s proposal was 'totally without credibility'

Home Secretary Amber Rudd said Labour’s proposal was 'totally without credibility'

Home Secretary Amber Rudd said Labour’s proposal was ‘totally without credibility’

The most painful parts of Diane Abbott’s radio meltdown 

Nick Ferrari: So how much would 10,000 police officers cost?

Diane Abbott: Well, if we recruit the 10,000 policemen and women over a four-year period, we believe it will be about £300,000.

NF: £300,000 for 10,000 police officers? What are you paying them?

DA: No, I mean, sorry…

NF: How much will they cost?

DA They will cost, it will cost about, about £80million.

NF: About £80 million? How do you get to that figure?

DA: We get to that figure because we anticipate recruiting 25,000 extra police officers a year at least over a period of four years. And we are looking at both what average police wages are generally but also specifically police wages in London. 

 NF: And the £80million is the figure we use?

DA: Yeah, yeah.

NF: But I don’t understand. If you divide £80million by 10,000, you get £8,000. Is that what you are going to pay these policemen and women?

DA: No, we are talking about a process over four years.

NF: I don’t understand. What is he or she going to get? Eighty million divided by 10,000 equals £8,000. What are these police officers going to be paid?

DA: We will be paying them the average…

NF: Has this been thought through?

DA: Of course it’s been thought through. 

 

 

No comments yet

Leave a Reply