UK: Labour’s shadow chancellor denies plagiarism after researchers find plethora of uncredited lifted extracts in her new book

By Thomas Brooke
3 Min Read

The U.K. Labour Party’s shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves has been accused of plagiarism after an analysis of her new book by the Financial Times newspaper found more than 20 examples of copied and pasted material derived from other sources without credit.

“The Women Who Made Modern Economics,” published earlier this month by the lawmaker who would lead the U.K. Treasury should Labour win the next general election, incorporated material from online blogs, Wikipedia, The Guardian newspaper, and fellow Labour MP Hilary Benn, the FT’s news editor Tom Braithwaite revealed on X.

“More than 20 examples were spotted by Financial Times reporters using manual checks rather than plagiarism detection software,” reported the newspaper, suggesting many more extracts could have been lifted from other outlets upon further examination.

The analysis cites whole paragraphs lifted from Wikipedia describing the lives of female economists Reeves argues helped to shape economic policy in the modern world, including the work of economist Beatrice Webb, who co-founded the London School of Economics, and Joan Robinson, an economist at Cambridge University.

Other media outlets have highlighted that the book, which gives an insight into Reeves’ economic policies should she ever be handed the keys to 11 Downing Street, ironically laments that notable women of the past were not given due credit for their work.

Conservative Party Chairman Greg Hands called the accusations “potentially very serious” and urged the Labour shadow chancellor to “explain herself urgently.”

He highlighted that three German cabinet ministers have been forced to resign in the last decade for allegations of plagiarism, referencing the Guttenberg scandal whereby former German Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg was forced to step down over plagiarism in his doctoral dissertation.

The book’s publisher, Basic Books, acknowledged that extracts taken from elsewhere were not properly credited.

“When factual sentences were taken from primary sources, they should have been rewritten and properly referenced. We acknowledge this did not happen in every case,” read a statement from the publisher.

A spokesperson for Reeves told the FT: “We strongly refute the accusation that has been put to us by this newspaper.” They claimed the oversights in referencing other work were “inadvertent mistakes” that would be “rectified in future reprints.”

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