Ed Miliband has come under fire from the perhaps the most unlikely of sources. Myleene Klass.
The leader of the opposition and the Labour party was appearing on ITV’s The Agenda, and appeared taken completely off guard when the former singer, and current panellist on Loose Women, openly criticised him. Klass’ took issue with the Downing Street hopeful over his plans for a tax on properties worth more than £2m.
As Miliband sought to defend the “mansion tax” as a way of raising extra funding for the NHS, Klass said the levy would hit “little grannies” living in modest homes in London rather than the super-rich Miliband claimed to be targeting.
Klass stated, “What is so disturbing is the name in its own right: ‘mansion’. So immediately you conjure up in your head these Barbie-esque houses … but in London, which is where 80% of the people who are going to be paying this tax actually live, the south-east of England, have you seen what that amount of money can get you? Often it’s like a garage,”
The emboldened Klass would continue and said, “When you do look at the people who will be suffering this tax, it’s true a lot of them are grannies who have had these houses in their families for a long, long time. The people who are the super-super-rich buying their houses for £140m, this is not necessarily going to affect them because they have got their tax rebates and their amazing accountants. It’s going to be the little grannies who have lived in those houses for years and years.”
With Miliband on the defensive the potential Prime Minister was forced to fight back, saying, “The values of my government are going to be different to the values of this government. I say bring on this debate. I think it is a principled view that those with the broadest shoulders should pay the biggest burden. I think that is a decent, right principle and that is not happening under this government.”
An increasingly irate Klass responded to this by saying, “Is that your only option? You may as well just tax me on this glass of water. You can’t just point at things and tax them.” Klass wasn’t alone on the panel of her dim view of this proposed tax with former ambassador Sir Christopher Meyer, saying: “You’re going to screw me royally.”
Miliband after leaving the show responded on Twitter, posting, “Here’s why our NHS needs a mansion tax. It’s Pure and Simple”, a reference to one of Klass’s biggest hits with Hear’Say, along with a link to a Labour document detailing “six things you need to know” about the mansion tax.
The document states, that “the vast majority of houses, even in London, are worth far less than” £2m, and pointed out: “The £2m threshold will rise in line with the average rise in prices – so the number of properties paying the tax will not increase.”
Klass however responded saying “later on, when fiscal drag kicks in, we’re all going to be paying it”.
This perhaps is not the best way for a Prime Ministerial candidate to appear. Klass raised legitimate concerns about the long term effects of the tax which may well be seized on by the Conservative Party by the time the debates come around. We shall have to see how Miliband stands up in debates against the other leading candidates considering how poorly he can debate against a TV panellist.