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John McDonnell says Labour MPs will not be 'bribed' on Brexit with constituency cash boost

2 min read

John McDonnell has accused the Prime Minister of attempting to "bribe" pro-Brexit Labour MPs with a cash boost for their constituencies.

The Shadow Chancellor accused Theresa May of “pork-barrel” politics, following reports she was approaching Labour MPs with new funding settlements for their constituencies in exchange for support for her Brexit deal.

He said talk of “contractual arrangements” similar to those struck between the DUP and Conservatives after the last election were “dangerous for democracy”.

The DUP negotiated an extra £1bn in funding for Northern Ireland in exchange for Commons support for the PM after she lost her majority in 2017.

Downing Street has insisted any cash settlements for Labour seats are not direct deals fo votes - but Labour MP John Mann said "show us the money".

During a visit to Stoke-on-Trent on Saturday, the Shadow Chancellor said: “I don’t think any MP will sell their votes in that way - that sort of bribery and corruption.

“The Conservatives introduced pork-barrel politics straight after the general election because they gave a couple of billion to the DUP just to secure their votes.

“It was something like £100m a vote they spent to get the DUP supporting them, so they already introduced that pork-barrel contractual politics.

“I think it degrades our political system and to try and extend it in this way, I think it’s dangerous for our democracy.

“So what most MPs have said is, actually if there is money there to spend on our constituencies, it should be done anyway. It shouldn’t be done in return for votes.”

Earlier this week, a spokesman for the Prime Minister confirmed Downing Street was considering a “national renewal” programme to help tackle inequality in communities after Brexit, but said the plans were not a “cash for votes” scheme.

Mr Mann also said, after his initial comments: "This isn't transactional politics, this is about getting a national fund... the areas that voted Leave the most are the areas that have not had that investment."

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