McDonnell Sees Fight for U.K. Labour to Win Economic Credibility

  • Party must underline commitment to balancing the books
  • `Few things are more urgent than delivering infrastructure'

The U.K. Labour Party faces "the most important fight in a generation" to regain its economic credibility after losing to the Conservatives in last May’s election, opposition finance spokesman John McDonnell will say.

McDonnell will use a speech in London on Tuesday evening to stress Labour’s commitment to balancing the books and say the party understands the importance of borrowing for investment.

"Labour has a fight on our hands to win back economic credibility, but it’s the most important fight in a generation," McDonnell will say, according to prepared remarks released by his office. "Few things are more urgent than delivering the infrastructure our economy is crying out for, infrastructure which pays for itself by expanding economic activity and raising tax revenues."

McDonnell, who has organized a series of "new economics" lectures taking place across Britain in coming months, is facing criticism that Labour has lurched to the far left since Jeremy Corbyn was elected leader in September. Labour’s electoral loss under Ed Miliband was largely blamed on voter perceptions that Prime Minister David Cameron’s Tories were better placed to manage the nation’s finances.

Corbyn has recruited economists including Nobel Prize winner Joseph Stiglitz and wealth and inequality expert Thomas Piketty to advise Labour as the party faces criticism of policies that include returning the railways to state ownership and funding infrastructure projects with money printed by the Bank of England.

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