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The post was sent in reference to a question he asked Rishi Sunak during the Chancellor’s Spending Review. The former Labour leader is currently representing himself as an Independent MP after having the whip withdrawn by Sir Keir Starmer – despite the National Executive Committee (NEC) allowing him to return as a party member. He had been suspended from Labour this month following a controversial response to a damning report from the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) regarding allegations of ant-Semitism in Labour.
But Mr Corbyn was able to ask Mr Sunak a question via videoconference as the Chancellor delivered his crucial Spending Review in the House of Commons on Wednesday.
A short while later, a video clip and message was posted by his wife Laura Alvarez, written in the first person from Mr Corbyn’s point of view.
It said: “After an austerity decade in which the real value of civil service pay has fallen, many face hardship.
“I asked the Chancellor when he will start to restore the real value of their pay.”
The same post also appeared on Mr Corbyn’s own Twitter account 11 minutes later.
Twitter users quickly jumped on the opportunity to mock the pair over the apparent blunder in the latest in a string of embarrassments for Mr Corbyn.
One person asked: “Is that Laura or the independent MP for Islington North?”
Somebody replied: “Begs the question – how many of ‘Laura’s’ tweets does he write?
“The adoring ‘Our Leader’ ones were excruciating enough coming from his wife but if he’s writing them himself…”
Another Twitter user posted: “The best time to delete this was twenty-five minutes ago.
“The second-best time is now.
A third person wrote: “So, Jeremy logged in on his other account then.
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“Much like when he was calling for a vote of no confidence…”
Another person quipped: “So those tweets supporting returning the whip to the independent MP for Islington North were actually from the independent MP for Islington North?”
Mr Corbyn had suffered earlier embarrassment when he was brilliantly shut down by Mr Sunak over the public sector pay freeze during a tense exchange in the Commons.
The Chancellor destroyed the demand from the former Labour leader for a 10 percent pay increase for civil servants.
Mr Sunak outlined that prior to the coronavirus pandemic, the gap between the public sector wages and private sector wages was seven percent, and that this will have increased during 2020.
Mr Corbyn said: “Throughout the coronavirus crisis, public sector workers in all areas have delivered brilliantly and helped to save lives and look after all our communities.
“Civil servants have lost 19 percent in wages over the past 10 years due to austerity.
“There is a 12 percent gender pay gap that affects civil servants.
“So, will the Chancellor recognise the importance of their work and participation by giving an increase of 10 percent to begin to make up for the ground we have lost over the last 10 years?
“And instead of saying to them as thanks for their work, they are going to get a maximum of £5 a week for the lowest-paid instead return to proper national pay bargaining for all civil servants so that those people that deliver for us are seen to be treated properly and fairly as we come out of the coronavirus crisis?”
Mr Sunak replied: “I am glad I have been given an opportunity to thank my fantastic team of civil servants in the Treasury who have been extraordinary in their hard work and creativity throughout this crisis.
“Unsurprisingly my numbers are slightly different from those of the Honourable Gentlemen.
“According to the ONS before this crisis even started in 2019 there existed a seven percent pay premium between the public and private sectors after accounting for characteristics and pensions that gap has no doubt been exacerbated and widened over the last 6-12 months.
“That is why I believe it is fair to take the approach that we have done.
“But I do share a desire to protect those on lower incomes which is why those 2.1 million people that earn less than 24,000 will receive a pay raise of £250.”
The former Labour also posted the video of his exchange with Mr Sunak on his Facebook page, and wrote: “During this crisis, Government workers have delivered vital public services.
“After an austerity decade in which the real value of civil service pay has fallen, many face hardship.
“I asked the Chancellor when we will start to restore the real value of their pay, take action to address the gender pay gap and restore collective bargaining.”
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