Google delivers a rare moment of Labour unity

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Google seems to have provided Labour with a them on which it can speak with one voice. Having already noted what Margaret Hodge has to say on the issue this morning in the Observer I then saw that John McDonnell had written on the issue in the Sunday Times (paywall), saying:

Any increase in the contribution of large companies whose tax affairs have been questioned is, of course, to be welcomed, but let us make no mistake: this comes as a result of much hard work and campaigning.

Tax experts, grassroots campaigners and MPs including Jeremy Corbyn and me have spent years raising awareness of these problems.

If George Osborne implicitly admits we were right at last, that is something to celebrate at least.

But until we know what has been agreed here and for the future — and until all big companies are paying their share like the rest of us — there is clearly a lot of work still to be done.

Again, it is hard to disagree. This is also factually accurate: this is the issue about which I first met John McDonnell and Jeremy Corbyn. At the time we were criticising New Labour for its approach: the settlement is now on another government’s watch and neither should be getting credit for their actions. Margaret and John do not, I suspect, agree on that much. At least they do on this.

But John would be wise to take on Margaret’s demands for country-by-country reporting and better transparency from HMRC on large business tax affairs. That turns this into a positive agenda. Adding HMRC reform into the mix would make it a very strong platform. And that’s what’s needed.