Jeremy Corbyn speech in Corby today
*** CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY ***
Jeremy Corbyn, Leader of the Labour Party, speaking at a children’s centre in Corby, Northamptonshire, said:
Thank you, Beth, for that introduction. You’re a powerful voice for the people of Corby and we need that voice in parliament.
It’s great to be back in Corby and I’d like to thank all the staff and everyone involved at the Pen Green Centre for Children and Families for hosting us today.
I’m sure I don’t need to convince anyone here that as we look towards the return of parliament in September the country is heading into a political and constitutional storm.
It’s the Conservative Party’s failure on Brexit and its lurch to the hard right that has provoked the crisis our country faces this autumn.
After failing to negotiate a Brexit deal that would protect jobs and living standards. Boris Johnson’s Tories are driving the country towards a No Deal cliff edge.
We will do everything necessary to stop a disastrous No Deal for which this government has no mandate.
Boris Johnson’s government wants to use No Deal to create a tax haven for the super-rich on the shores of Europe, and sign a sweetheart trade deal with Donald Trump.
Not so much a No Deal Brexit more a Trump Deal Brexit.
Have no doubt, No Deal would destroy people’s jobs push up food prices in the shops and open our NHS to takeover by US private corporations.
That’s a price Boris Johnson is willing to pay because it won’t be him and his wealthy friends paying it – it will be you.
Labour will do everything we can to protect people’s livelihoods.
We will work together with the MPs from across parliament to pull our country back from the brink.
I will bring a vote of no confidence in the government, and if we’re successful, I would seek to form a time-limited caretaker administration to avert No Deal, and call an immediate general election so the people can decide our country’s future.
If MPs are serious about stopping a No Deal crash out, then they will vote down this reckless government and it falls to the Leader of the Opposition, to make sure No Deal does not happen and the people decide their own future.
Labour believes the decision on how to resolve the Brexit crisis must go back to the people.
And if there is a general election this autumn, Labour will commit to holding a public vote, to give voters the final say with credible options for both sides including the option to remain.
Three years of Tory failure on Brexit have caused opinions to harden to such a degree that I believe no outcome will now have legitimacy without the people’s endorsement.
But while Brexit is the framework of the crisis, we face the problems facing our country run much deeper.
A general election triggered by the Tory Brexit crisis will be a crossroads for our country. It will be a once-in-a-generation chance for a real change of direction potentially on the scale of 1945 or 1979.
Things cannot go on as they were before. The Conservatives and the wealthy establishment they represent have failed our country.
They have failed to protect living standards, savaged our public services, deepened inequality and failed to keep us safe.
Boris Johnson and his Tory cabinet have direct responsibility for the Tory decade of devastating damage to our communities and the fabric of our society.
However, the Brexit crisis is resolved, the country faces a fundamental choice.
Labour offers the real change of direction the country needs a radical programme to rebuild and transform communities and public services to invest in the green jobs and high-tech industries of the future and take action to tackle inequality and climate crisis.
The Tories have lurched to the hard right under Boris Johnson.
Johnson is Britain’s Trump, as the US president himself declared the fake populist and phoney outsider funded by the hedge funds and bankers committed to protecting the vested interests of the richest and the elites while posing as anti-establishment.
The Tories cannot be trusted to deliver on their quick-fix promises because their first priority is tax cuts for the big corporations and the richest.
The Tories can’t be trusted to deliver for the majority because they will always look after their own. Instead of fixing a failed system, they will turbocharge its inequalities, insecurities and climate destruction.
Labour can be trusted to deliver to end austerity, to take on the elites and the vested interests holding people back and to transform our country for the many, not the few.
Labour can be trusted to take the radical steps necessary to protect the environment provide hope, decent jobs, secure homes, opportunity to every nation and region and build a fairer country that works for all.
Our country has been held back for too long by the establishment that the Tories represent.
But together, we can take our future into our own hands and tackle the great challenges facing our country alongside Brexit; inequality and an economy run for the richest; public services that have been stripped back and sold off; and the climate emergency threatening our children’s future.
Inequality holds all of us back. It means the talent of millions of people is squandered.
We don’t have to be a country of food banks and rough sleepers at one end while the super-rich dodge taxes at the other.
People have a choice.
Labour will raise tax for the richest and make sure they pay their share towards the common good.
The Tories will cut tax for the richest.
Labour will require the big multinational corporations to actually pay the tax they owe in this country.
The Tories will cut tax for big corporations.
It’s Labour that will get more money into your pocket rather than line the pockets of multi-millionaires.
We’ll introduce a real living wage of £10 an hour, including for young people who deserve equal pay for equal work.
But we need to go further. The problem with an unfair economy isn’t just the imbalance of wealth; it’s the imbalance of power.
Labour will give working people more power to win better wages and have security at work.
We’ll put workers on company boards and give the workforce a 10% stake in large companies; paying a dividend of as much as £500 a year to each employee.
And Labour won’t tell people they have to work until they are 75 before getting their pension, as Iain Duncan Smith’s think tank has suggested – a policy that discriminates against working class people – especially in manual jobs.
It’s past time that we rewrote the rules of the economy – to shift wealth and power – from a small elite at the top into the hands of the majority.
And that principle of empowering people doesn’t just apply to the workplace.
We’ll bring rail, mail, water and the national grid into public ownership. So the essential utilities people rely on are run by and for the public, not shareholders.
And we’ll give tenants more power and security including controlling rents, so dodgy landlords can’t rip them off.
And when we talk about inequality, we aren’t only talking about economics. We need a government that’s seriously committed to tackling the entrenched inequalities faced by women and ethnic minorities too.
The coming general election will be make or break for our public services.
The new prime minister has been making some pre-election spending pledges over the past few weeks.
That shows Labour has won the argument that austerity damages our country and that it was always a political choice.
But it insults voters’ intelligence to expect them to be grateful for a bit of extra money here and there, with no confidence that it will actually be delivered when it’s Boris Johnson’s Tories who ran our public services into the ground in the first place.
And it shows no understanding of the depth of the problem.
Take crime which the Prime Minister is now trying to turn to his political advantage, with yet more promises to tackle what the Tories have failed to bring under control for a decade.
In the 2017 election, Labour won the argument that Tory cuts to the police had made people unsafe, and we pledged to hire more officers.
The Conservatives have now conceded that we were right, but police cuts are not the only reason violent crime has doubled.
What the Tories won’t address is the much wider impact of austerity; the closed youth services; under-resourced mental healthcare; and the lack of funding for community mentoring.
We take youth services so seriously that we will make it compulsory for local government to deliver them.
And we know the direct impact that rhetoric around immigration, crime and stop and search can have on the lives of those from minority communities.
Labour will rebuild our public services because we understand they are the glue that binds society together.
We’ll restore pride in our NHS by funding it properly and end the sell-offs and privatisation.
And we’ll create a National Education Service providing free learning from the cradle to the grave including free school meals for all primary children smaller class sizes for five, six and seven-year-olds and no tuition fees at university or college.
So who can the public trust to rebuild our public services after a decade of Conservative austerity – Labour, or the Tories led by Boris Johnson?
And on the issue that poses the greatest threat to our common future the climate crisis, it’s Labour that has shown leadership.
We ensured our parliament was the first in the world to declare a climate emergency.
That must be followed by radical and decisive action that will only be delivered by a Labour government.
It certainly won’t come from the Tories the party that scrapped the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon, effectively killing off new onshore wind power projects, and is forcing fracking on local communities who oppose it.
We have to turn the climate crisis into an opportunity, to rebuild British industry with a Green Industrial Revolution that will create 400,000 well-paid high-skilled jobs in renewable energy and green technology, particularly in parts of our country that never recovered from the decimation of our industrial base by Margaret Thatcher’s government places like here in Corby, where the closure of the steelworks cost thousands upon thousands of jobs.
Imagine if the Derbyshire and Yorkshire coalfields that once powered the nation became the new centres of green energy generation.
Or if towns that used to make locomotives built the next generation of high-speed electric trains.
Just imagine how it would feel for those communities to once again be the beating heart of our economy while reducing our greenhouse emissions.
That future is within our grasp.
But I ask again: who do you trust to act on the climate emergency – Labour, or the Tories led by Boris Johnson?
We can’t afford more of the same, but even worse. The future could be fantastic. New technologies have the power to liberate us and help tackle the climate emergency.
But for too many, the future is frightening and uncertain because those technologies have been used instead to benefit the wealthy elite while driving down pay and security for millions.
The next Labour government will take on those who really run our country the bankers, tax dodgers and big polluters. So that the real wealth creators, the people of this country, can have the services, jobs and futures they deserve.
Because when Labour wins, we all win. The nurse wins, the pensioner wins, the student wins, the office worker wins, the engineer wins, we all win.
The chaos and dislocation of Boris Johnson’s No Deal Brexit is real and threatening as the government’s leaked Operation Yellowhammer dossier makes clear. That’s why we will do everything we can to stop it.
Then, after years of elite-driven austerity and neglect, we will recharge our politics with a massive injection of democracy kicking out the big money interests and putting the people in the driving seat.
We will rebuild our public services by taxing those at the top to properly fund services for everyone.
We will drive up people’s living standards by boosting pay, improving rights, and running our utilities and economy in the interests of the millions, not the multi-millionaires.
And we will transform our communities with investment in every part of our country breathing new life into our high streets, giving security to older people and hope and opportunities to our young people.
This is a historic moment, with the potential for real change to transform our country if we grasp the opportunity.