Former Labour Treasury minister Liam Byrne admits that his infamous “there is no money” letter hampered Ed Miliband’s general election campaign by making it easier for the Tories to attack Labour’s economic record. As the party’s post-mortem intensifies and the search for a new leader begins in the wake of its disastrous election defeat, Byrne issued a grovelling apology for writing the note, which was handed to his Liberal Democrat successor, David Laws. He says he has “burnt with shame” every day since 2010. The note was brandished by David Cameron as evidence of Labour’s financial irresponsibility in the final BBC debate of the election campaign and was used as a key weapon by the Tories on millions of doorsteps throughout the campaign. In the one-line letter, Byrne told Laws, the new chief secretary to the Treasury: “I’m afraid there is no money”, and signed off wishing him “good luck!”, an attempt at jocularity that was to backfire spectacularly. Writing in the Observer on Sunday Byrne, who increased his majority in Birmingham Hodge Hill, says: “Party members ask me: what on earth were you thinking? But members of the public ask: how could you do something so crass? And so… Read full this story
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