ED Miliband has insisted his Shadow Cabinet colleague, Scottish peer Lord Falconer, is “very very sorry” after describing the pandemic as a “gift that keeps on giving for lawyers”.
Lord Falconer, the Shadow Attorney General, who made the comment during a briefing for a City law firm last June, insists he was referring to changes in the law triggered by the crisis.
It was seized on by the Conservatives. Amanda Milling, the party’s Co-Chairman, said it was a “troubling” example of Labour’s approach to the Covid crisis.
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Mr Miliband, the Shadow Business Secretary, told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show: “He shouldn’t have said it. He was talking in the context of lawyers and the way the law was changing.
“It was a very poor choice of words. I have spoken to Charlie this morning and he is very very sorry and apologises for what he said.
“It shows that we have to be careful with our words, all politicians have to be very careful with our words,” stressed the former party leader.
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As well as being a full-time member of the Shadow Cabinet, Lord Falconer, 69, is a partner at the international law firm Gibson Dunn, where his duties are said to have included leading its Covid-19 UK Task Force.
The Edinburgh-born peer served as Tony Blair’s Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs from 2003 to 2007.