POLITICS
16/10/2013 10:27 BST

Chuka Umunna Showed 'Utter Naivety' On Royal Mail Flotation, Say Tories

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Shadow Business Secretary Chuka Umunna addresses the Institute of Directors (IoD) annual conference at the Royal Albert Hall in London.

Chuka Umunna, Labour's shadow business secretary, has been accused of "utter naivety" by Tories for urging the government to delay the Royal Mail share sale because the shares were priced too cheaply, before their price soared nearly 50% on the stock market.

Speaking to the Huffington Post UK, Robin Walker, Tory member of the business select commitee, said: "Chuka has been talking up the price, and as someone with a financial background and in a position of prominence, he really should know better."

"I should have thought an opposition spokesman would relish the opportunity to give evidence before the Select Committee but perhaps he is worried that it would bring out the fact that they are only trying to make trouble from the sidelines?"

Business secretary Vince Cable will be grilled by the Commons business committee on issues surrounding the Royal Mail privatisation including its appropriate pricing, following City investors' praising the 330p pricing as an "absolute bargain".

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Royal Mail shares were oversubscribed seven times as 700,000 made applications. One City investor told the Huffington Post UK: "The government priced it low so every jackass in London would apply for shares."

Tories insist that Labour's business spokesman should face questions for urging the government to stop the "fire sale", warning that shares were being "sold on the cheap".

Business committee member Nadhim Zahawai told City A.M that Umunna had showed “utter naivety as to how his party political briefing would be construed by financial markets” and should face questions for his comments on the share sale.

A spokesman for Umunna dismissed the call to face questions, saying the opposition was “doing its constitutional duty”.