EXCL Rachel Reeves: I'm not ashamed to count Conservative MPs as my friends

Posted On: 
9th November 2017

Rachel Reeves has insisted she is not "ashamed" to count many Conservative MPs as her friends - in a direct rebuke to Labour colleague Laura Pidcock.

Rachel Reeves says she considers many Conservatives to be her friends.
PA Images

The former Labour Shadow Cabinet member said "seeing everything through the prism of party politics is not helpful".

Ms Pidcock, who became an MP in June, sparked a row earlier this year when she described Conservatives as "the enemy".

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Speaking to left-wing website Sqwawkbox, the North West Durham MP said: "Whatever type they are, I have absolutely no intention of being friends with any of them.

"I have friends I choose to spend time with. I go to Parliament to be a mouthpiece for my constituents and class – I’m not interested in chatting on. I feel disgusted at the way they’re running this country, it’s visceral – I’m not interested in being cosy."

But speaking to The House magazine, Leeds West MP Ms Reeves said only being friends with people who have the same views as you promotes "a very narrow view of the world".

She said: "If you can build cross-party support for something, it’s more likely to get through and you’re more likely to secure lasting change. There are people in all political parties that you can do business with and work with. It doesn’t mean you’ll walk through the same division lobbies at the end of the evening, but you can find cross-party support.

Ms Reeves added: "I do think you can have friendships across the House. I would consider Seema Kennedy a friend and a colleague. Just because you walk through a different division lobby doesn’t mean you can’t have a lot of respect for somebody and think their values are good.

"There are good people who are Conservative MPs and who vote Conservative and I’m not ashamed to say that. If you go through life and will only be friendly with, or have respect for, people who have got the same views as you, you’re going to have a very narrow view of the world and you’ll miss out on a lot of opportunities and friendships that you might otherwise have developed.

"Seeing everything through the prism of party politics is not helpful."