Wednesday 25 September 2019 / 7:01 PM Brexit / Jeremy Corbyn

Jeremy Corbyn’s response to Boris Johnson in parliament


Speaking in parliament in response to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Leader of the Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn MP said:

Mr Speaker, I thank the Prime Minister for advance copy of his statement. Unfortunately it was like his illegal prorogation of Parliament: “null, of no effect, and should be quashed.”

This was 10 minutes of bluster from a dangerous Prime Minister who thinks he is above the law, but in truth is not fit for the office he holds.

Mr Speaker, I am glad to see so many colleagues back here doing what they were elected to do: to hold the government to account for its failings. Whether that’s its attempts to shutdown democracy; its sham Brexit negotiations; its chaotic and inadequate No Deal preparations; its allegations of corruption; its failure on climate change; its failure to step in to save Thomas Cook. This government is failing the people of Britain.

Yesterday’s Supreme Court verdict represents an extraordinary and precarious moment in our country’s history.

The highest court in this land has found the Prime Minister broke the law when he tried to shut down democratic accountability at a crucial moment for our public life. The judges concluded there was no reason – “let alone a good reason” – for the Prime Minister to have shut down parliament.

After yesterday’s ruling Mr Speaker, he should have done the honourable thing and resigned. Yet here he is, forced back to this House to rightfully face scrutiny, without a shred of remorse or humility and no substance whatsoever.

So let’s see if he’ll answer some questions:

Does the Prime Minister agree with his Attorney General that the government got it wrong or with the Leader of the House that the Supreme Court committed a “constitutional coup”? This is a vital question about whether the government respects the judiciary.

The Attorney General was also categorical that the government would comply with the EU Withdrawal (No2) Act. Can the Prime Minister confirm that?

Mr Speaker, I want to pay tribute to those MPs from all parties across this House, the Lords, and in the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly who have not only fought so hard to stop a disastrous no deal, but continued to take the case against prorogation through the courts.

The government has failed to silence our democracy.

Mr Speaker, during the period of unlawful prorogation the government was forced to release their Yellowhammer no deal analysis and plans. No wonder the Prime Minister has been so eager to avoid scrutiny and so eager to hide the dangers of his Brexit plan.
The release of these documents leads to many questions the government must now answer.
So I would like to start by asking the Prime Minister why the government described leaked Yellowhammer documents in August as being “out of date” when the document they later produced in September was almost word for word the same.

It is clear they have tried to hide the truth of a no deal Brexit and tried to hide the fact that their policy would heap misery on this country.

Let’s just take a look at the analysis:
• chaos at Britain’s ports, with months of disruption
• shortages of fuel and fresh foods
• disruption of vital medical supplies
• rises in energy prices
• a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland

Most damning of all, Mr Speaker, is the passage that simply says, and I quote: “Low-income groups will be disproportionately affected.”

Well there we have it Mr Speaker, a simple warning, a simple truth that a Tory government is continuing to follow a policy they know will hit the poorest people in our country hardest.

They do not care, Mr Speaker, the damning document we have already seen is only six pages long. It is only right that this House should expect more transparency from this government.

The government say they are doing all they can to get a deal before October 31st, but the truth is Mr Speaker, the Prime Minister has hardly been putting effort into negotiations. Any progress looks minimal at best.

Only yesterday the EU’s Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier said there was “no reason today for optimism”. Can I ask the Prime Minister why he believes Mr Barnier has this view?

The House is still yet to hear any detail of any deal this government seeks to negotiate.

We are told the government has distributed papers to Brussels outlining proposals for a change to the backstop. Will the Prime Minister publish these papers to be debated in this House?

For this government to have any credibility they need to show they have an actual plan.

Mr Speaker, the Prime Minister has also questions to answer again about his conduct in public office, and in particular allegations he failed to declare an interest in the allocation of public money to a close friend while he was Mayor of London.

It was announced today that the Department for Culture, Media & Sport is reviewing the funds allocated in light of the Sunday Times reports. Did the Prime Minister initiate that review? Will the Prime Minister fully co-operate with both the DCMS review and that of the Greater London Assembly?

Will he refer himself to the Cabinet Secretary for investigation? The Prime Minister is not above the law.

Mr Speaker, no one can trust this Prime Minister. Not on Iran. Not on Thomas Cook. Not on climate change or on Brexit.

For the good of this country, he should go.

He says he wants a general election. I want an election. It’s very simple – if you want an election, get an extension and let’s have an election.