It has been discovered that a recent book written by shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves has repeated examples of plagiarism, with large chunks containing entire paragraphs taken verbatim from other sources without attribution.
Dozens of examples were highlighted by Financial Times reporters using manual checks.
Although some specifics, such as names and adjectives, had been changed in some of the book’s rewritten paragraphs and phrases, the majority of the text stayed the same.
Reeves, who aspires to become Britain’s first female chancellor if Labour wins the next election, stole some biographical text about female economists from Wikipedia in its entirety.
Reeves, a former economist at the Bank of England, denied plagiarism, claiming that the book’s central focus was how women economists had influenced the shadow chancellor’s thinking.
“We strongly refute the accusation that has been put to us by this newspaper,” a Reeves representative stated. These were inadvertent mistakes and will be rectified in future reprints.”
“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,” publisher Basic Books admitted.
Ironically, one of the book’s themes is women not receiving credit for their work or ideas.
There is reason to believe Mary Paley Marshall’s input into the writing of her famous husband Alfred Marshall went unrecognised, Reeves claims, going on to cite Milton Friedman saying that “Anna [Schwartz] did all of the work, and I got most of the recognition.”
The financial Times, who broke the story, detailed some of their findings of plagiarism in her book:
“Most of the instances of copied phrasing contain biographical information. For example, ‘Lawrencina was the daughter of a Liverpool merchant, Lawrence Heyworth, whose own family had been weavers in Bacup in Lancashire’ is written both on Wikipedia and in Reeves’s book. The two versions differ only in their spelling of Lawrencina.
In one case an entire paragraph, about the relationship between the writer H.G. Wells and the economist Beatrice Webb, is very similar to one written in Webb’s Wikipedia page. The sentence “He responded by lampooning the couple in his 1911 novel The New Machiavelli as Altiora and Oscar Bailey, a pair of short-sighted, bourgeois manipulators” is matched word for word. In another case, Hilary Benn, now the shadow Northern Ireland secretary, wrote on the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change website:
“When we were elected in 1997, the amount of aid we gave as a proportion of our national income had halved over the preceding 18 years and was just 0.26 per cent. By the time we left office, we were on our way to achieving the 0.7 per cent target. This was down to the political leadership of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, who brought the lives of the world’s poorest people into the heart of Whitehall.” Reeves writes: “When Labour was elected in 1997, the amount of aid the UK gave as a proportion of our national income had halved over the preceding 18 years and stood at just 0.26 per cent. By the end of Labour’s time in office, in 2010, we were on our way to achieving the 0.7 per cent target. This was down to the political leadership of Blair and Gordon Brown — and their first Secretary of State for International Development from 1997 to 2002, Clare Short, who brought the lives of the world’s poorest people into the heart of government.”
Responding to the article, Tory MP and party Chairman Greg Hands wrote on Twitter:
“This is potentially very serious. For example, three German Cabinet Ministers have resigned since 2011 due to plagiarism. Plagiarism which was much longer ago than these allegations in today’s Financial Times.
“Rachel Reeves needs to explain herself urgently.”