Labour front bencher does a runner during dinner with lobbyists

Written by Mr Steerpike on 27 September 2018 in Diary

Barry Gardiner was supposed to talk to lobbyists at the annual Labour party conference business dinner.

According to a source who was there, the only agency lobbyists at Labour’s business dinner were Teneo Blue Rubicon public affairs chief Graham Macmillan, Edelman director Craig Woodhouse and PLMR senior account manager Stefanie Lehmann.

But there were plenty of in-house types present to hear from Andy Burnham, Keir Starmer, Rebecca Long-Bailey and John McDonnell.

Apparently, there was a shadow minister on most tables after McDonnell’s speech, but they were not all delighted to be there when the questions came thick and fast about the shadow chancellor's plans.

One Labour source recalled that shadow international trade secretary Barry Gardiner was particularly uncomfortable when business chiefs started grilling him about McDonnell’s plans:

“He fled after five minutes and had to be replaced by Johnny Reynolds.”

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