Corbyn warns voters will be 'sorely disappointed' with Johnson's 'blueprint for Britain'

19 December 2019, 18:44

Corbyn and Johnson have clashed in the aftermath of the Queen's Speech
Corbyn and Johnson have clashed in the aftermath of the Queen's Speech. Picture: PA

By Kate Buck

Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn have clashed in the Commons in the aftermath of the second Queen's Speech in as many months.

Mr Johnson, fresh off his general election victory, insisted he feels a "colossal sense of obligation" to voters as he tries to deliver a "new golden age" for Britain.

The Prime Minister claimed his new Government has unveiled "the most radical Queen's Speech for a generation" in pursuit of delivering Brexit, extra cash for the NHS and justice reforms.

But Jeremy Corbyn hit back at the promises, claiming Mr Johnson won the election through "gimmicks and false promises."

The outgoing Labour leader claimed the Conservatives were promising a "very pale imitation" of his party's priorities, adding he feared those who backed Mr Johnson will be "sorely disappointed".

Tory MPs heckled and mocked Mr Corbyn as he rose to his feet to muted cheers from his own benches following Labour's election defeat last week.

Jeremy Corbyn claimed Mr Johnson won the election through "gimmicks"
Jeremy Corbyn claimed Mr Johnson won the election through "gimmicks". Picture: PA
Boris Johnson said he wanted to bring in a new golden age for Britain
Boris Johnson said he wanted to bring in a new golden age for Britain. Picture: PA

Addressing the Commons on day one of the Queen's Speech debate, Mr Johnson said his Government "will work flat out" to deliver "a new golden age" for the United Kingdom.

Mr Johnson added: "This is not a programme for one year or one Parliament, it is a blueprint for the future of Britain.

"Just imagine where this country could be in 10 years' time - trade deals across the world, creating jobs across the UK, 40 new hospitals, great schools in every community, and the biggest transformation of our infrastructure since the Victorian Age."

He continued: "And I do not think it vainglorious or implausible to say that a new golden age for this United Kingdom is now within reach and in spite of the scoffing, in spite of the negativity, in spite of the scepticism that you will hear from the other side, we will work flat out to deliver it."

Mr Johnson joked Mr Corbyn was a "stickler for watching the Queen's Speech at the right time", a nod to a mistake made by the Opposition leader during the election about his Christmas television viewing habits, before noting the pair had enjoyed "excellent" personal relations.

The Queen laid out Mr Johnson's plans in the latest State Opening of Parliament
The Queen laid out Mr Johnson's plans in the latest State Opening of Parliament. Picture: PA
The two party leaders pictured at the opening of Parliament today
The two party leaders pictured at the opening of Parliament today. Picture: PA

He also joked: "Certain members of his shadow cabinet on the other hand are absolutely clear where the responsibility of the election result lies - the voters of the country have let their side down.

"They have forfeited the confidence of the Opposition and the time has come for Labour to take the only possible step - dissolve the electorate and replace it with a new one.

"At least I think that's what the lady for Islington South and Finsbury (Emily Thornberry) said."

On the "colossal sense of obligation" to voters, Mr Johnson said: "To those people who lent us their votes, however hesitantly, this Government will now engage flat-out on a programme of change for the better."

Concluding, the Prime Minister added: "I say to the people of this country, we owe you, we know it and we will deliver.

"And we have now the energy, we have the ideas, we have the mandate, we have the people and we will spare no efforts to fulfil that mandate."

This is the second time in as many months there has been a state opening of Parliament
This is the second time in as many months there has been a state opening of Parliament. Picture: PA

Mr Corbyn earlier criticised the impact of austerity on millions of people in the country, adding: "The communities to whom the Prime Minister made his promises will now judge him on whether he keeps them.

"In this Queen's Speech, the Government has tried to mimic some of the priorities and, interestingly, much of the language of Labour policy but without the substance - on austerity, on investment, on regional inequality and on the National Health Service, we can see how we forced the terrain to shift."

At this point, one Tory MP shouted: "It's all blue."

Mr Corbyn went on: "They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, even when it's a very pale imitation, but I fear those swayed by the Prime Minister's promises will be sorely disappointed."

Mr Johnson now has a majority of 80 in the Commons
Mr Johnson now has a majority of 80 in the Commons. Picture: PA

He also said the Government's proposals are "woefully inadequate for the scale of problems that this country faces", adding the NHS is "on its knees due to this Tory Government".

Referring to the proposal to enshrine the funding settlement in law, he added: "Enough of the gimmicks, just fund it properly."

On Brexit, he said: "The election result demonstrated a strong determination from many people across our country to end the mess and paralysis of the last three years."

Mr Corbyn concluded: "As this Government ploughs ahead with its programme of gimmicks and false promises, we will be holding them to account every step of the way and campaigning inside and outside Parliament and across this country for the real change that this Government sadly will not deliver but our country so desperately needs."

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