Labour denies ‘split’ over spending

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Labour dismissed allegations of a split over spending plans, after senior shadow cabinet minister Jim Murphy said the party needed to show “credibility” by explaining where it would make cuts.

The Shadow Defence Secretary said he accepted £5bn-worth of the Government’s military cuts and acknowledged that Labour would have to make spending reductions if it won power.

Tories claimed that his comments, in an interview with The Guardian, amounted to an attack on Labour leader Ed Miliband and Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls, who have been arguing for a slower rate of reduction in Government spending.

But a source close to Mr Murphy dismissed the claim as “mischief-making” pointing out that Mr Balls himself used a pre-Christmas interview to state explicitly that “there have got to be cuts” and to say that Labour needs to address “public scepticism” about its willingness to take tough decisions on spending.