Ed Miliband, the beleaguered leader of Britain’s opposition party Labour, was taken down on Monday night by a surprising foe: former UK pop star and television presenter Myleene Klass.
The clash took place on the UK panel show The Agenda, where both Miliband, who hopes to be voted in as Britain’s next prime minister in next year’s election, and Klass appeared as guests. Klass wasted no time in taking Miliband to task for his party’s proposed tax on homes worth £2 million ($3.1 million) or more — widely known as the “mansion tax” — in order to put more funds into the country’s National Health Service (NHS).
“For me, it’s so disturbing – the name in its own right: ‘mansion tax’” said Klass, who rose to fame in the early aughts, when she took part in Simon Cowell’s reality TV show Popstars. “When you do look at the people who will be suffering this tax, it’s true a lot of them are grannies who have had these houses in their families for a long, long time. The people who are the super, super rich buying their houses for £140 million, this is not necessarily going to affect them because they’ve got their tax rebates and amazing accountants. It’s going to be the little grannies who have lived in those houses for years and years.”
For his part, Miliband seemed unprepared for the attack, in spite of recent criticism in the UK press and rumors of backlash from within his own party. He responded to the criticism by noting, “I totally understand that people don’t like paying more in tax. The values of my government are going to be different to the values of this [current Conservative] government.”
Yet Klass continued to grill the politician on precise figures, while questioning whether the tax would actually help improve national health care.
“You may as well just tax me on this glass of water. You can’t just point at things and tax them,” she said.
Many people watching the interview took to social media to comment on Miliband’s weak defense:
Of course, there were also viewers who were turned off by Klass — who has an estimated net worth of £11 million ($17.2 million) — arguing that a tax on millionaires would cause suffering: