The Shadow Chancellor just quoted one of history's most brutal dictators in the House of Commons

John McDonnell, the Labour Shadow Chancellor, just did something that doesn’t happen very often in the House of Commons. He quoted former communist dictator Chairman Mao Zedong.

In his response to chancellor George Osborne’s Autumn Statement speech, McDonnell took the bizarre step of reading from Mao’s ‘little red book’, before throwing it across the Commons despatch box towards Osborne, and prime minister David Cameron.

Getting the book out, McDonnell said (Mao’s quote in bold): “Let’s quote from Mao. Rarely done in this chamber. We must learn to do economic work from all who know how, no matter who they are. We must esteeem them as teachers, learning from them respectfully and conscientiously, but we must not pertain to know what we do not know. I thought it would come in handy for him [Osborne].”

You can see the video below:

It’s safe to say that people were a little bit confused by what McDonnell was doing:

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