McDonnell quotes Mao Zedong in the House of Commons (VIDEO)

Britain's shadow Chancellor of the exchequer John McDonnell; Copies of the Little Red Book. © Luke MacGregor, Claro Cortes
Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell has done nothing to assuage criticism of his socialist leanings by quoting communist Chinese leader Chairman Mao Zedong in the House of Commons.

Speaking during Chancellor George Osborne’s Autumn Statement, McDonnell surprised even his own Labour benches by whipping out the infamous little red book and reading a quote from the dear leader.

“Let’s quote from Mao,” he began, to hysterical cheers from the Tory frontbench.

“Rarely done in this chamber,” he continued.

“We must learn to do economic work from all who know how, no matter who they are. We must esteem them as teachers, we must respect them conscientiously, but we must not pretend to know what we do not know,” he read, before throwing the little red book across the table to Osborne.

Perhaps the radical flourish was inspired by what Labour MPs are calling a victory over the government’s tax credit cuts earlier on Wednesday.

Although a memorable break with Parliamentary convention, McDonnell’s cultural revolution is unlikely to help Labour’s five year plan of re-election.