Voters would not forgive Labour MPs who take extra money for their constituencies to back Theresa May’s Brexit deal, the party’s frontbenchers have said.
Labour’s John Mann has urged the prime minister to ‘show us the money’ by investing in areas that voted Leave.
But the move has been widely criticised, with many saying it represents the type of ‘pork barrell’ politics prevalent in the United States – where congressmen and senators lobby for extra cash for their states in return for supporting legislation.
Shadow chancellor John McDonnell has said it represents ‘transactional politics’ that damages the system, while many have even gone as far to say it is like accepting a bribe to support Brexit.
Speaking on Sky News’ Sophy Ridge on Sunday, Labour’s shadow attorney general Baroness Shami Chakrabarti said: ‘I don’t believe Labour voters would thank their MPs for these short-term, isolated bribes.’
And on the Andrew Marr Show on the BBC, shadow international trade secretary Barry Gardiner said: ‘I understand why their constituents are crying out from the lack of investment under the austerity of this government.
‘But we had a manifesto – it was about ensuring those areas left behind by this government actually had the investment that they need.
‘Why would you, as a Labour MP who stood on that manifesto, say: ‘Do you know what, if I can get a little bit of extra money into my constituency I don’t mind about the rest of the country not getting actually what we promised in our manifesto’ which is investment as a whole into those area to revitalise all parts of our economy?
‘My vote is not for sale.
‘The American system for many, many reasons has been based on pork barrell – it’s been based on if I can get something for my state, my constituency, then I’ll do a deal.
‘But this is a very different system that’s why in the UK we’ve put forward a manifesto that would deliver what is needed.
‘Anyone who reflects on the manifesto they stood on and the benefit that would do to the whole country in getting investment through would have to say: ‘I can’t just be selfish about this. I can’t just take care of my own immediate community.’
‘We have to take care of the whole country and that’s why we need the investment programme Labour put forward.’