Labour government would legislate for second referendum immediately – Corbyn
10 October 2019, 14:36
Party leader Jeremy Corbyn has set out his plans for an ‘alternative’ Queen’s Speech.
Labour would “immediately legislate” to hold a second referendum if the party wins the next election, leader Jeremy Corbyn has confirmed.
Mr Corbyn told an audience in Northampton: “Labour trusts the people to decide.”
The Opposition leader was setting out his “alternative” to the Queen’s Speech that Boris Johnson will ask the monarch to deliver on Monday.
Mr Corbyn said the PM’s decision to hold a Queen’s Speech before an election was a “cynical stunt” and he would not be able to put forward legislation with a “majority of minus 45”.
“Johnson is using the Queen to deliver a pre-election party political broadcast for the Conservative Party,” said Mr Corbyn.
He told reporters after his speech that the Prime Minister’s recent “behaviour and language” indicated he was “not going” to strike a Brexit deal with the European Union before the end-of-the-month deadline.
Speaking about his party’s own plans for power, he described the leadership’s Brexit position as “simple” and vowed to “carry out whatever the people decide”.
He said: “The first task of a Labour government will be to finally get Brexit sorted.
“After three years of Tory failure, it’s time to take the decision out of the hands of politicians and let the people have the final say.
“Within three months of coming to power, a Labour government will secure a sensible deal, based on the terms we have long advocated and discussed with the EU, trade unions and businesses, including a new customs union, a close single market relationship and guarantees of rights and protections.
“Within six months of being elected, we will put that deal to a public vote alongside Remain.”
The Islington North MP said Labour was the “only party that can and will deliver a public vote”.
His position is starkly different to that of the PM, with Mr Johnson having continually promised to deliver Brexit by October 31 – even if that means leaving without a deal.
The Conservative Party leader has said he will comply with the Benn Act, which calls on the PM to request a Brexit extension to avoid no-deal, but has also insisted he will stick to the Halloween deadline.
Mr Corbyn said it was such utterances that were preventing Labour from backing the PM’s calls for a general election, despite “champing at the bit” for a chance to campaign for government.
In a message to Mr Johnson, he said: “Prime Minister, we can’t trust you not to break the law because you’ve got form.
“So it’s simple – obey the law, take no-deal off the table and then let’s have the election.”
Responding to questions after the speech, Mr Corbyn said it now looked unlikely that a deal would be done before the deadline.
“We are in for a few days of shadow boxing by Boris Johnson and a decision will hopefully come back to Parliament next week after the EU summit,” he said.
“At the moment his behaviour and language he’s used suggests he’s not going to reach an agreement with the European Union.”
Mr Corbyn used the gathering in front of supporters to lay out the proposals he would bring about if elected to Number 10, confirming extra infrastructure investment, immediate minimum wage rises and shares in wind farms to tackle climate change.
The speech set out plans for:
– University tuition fees to be scrapped
– Prescriptions to be made free in England
– The end of Universal Credit
– A million “affordable homes” over 10 years
– Extra funding for local authorities
– A 51% public stake in wind farms to help coastal communities and tackle climate change
– A minimum wage rise of £10 an hour for all workers aged 16 and over
Mr Corbyn said: “The alternative Queen’s Speech I’ve set out today is the most transformative, radical and exciting programme ever put before the British electorate.
“This is Labour’s plan to change our country, it’s the real thing, not the pale imitation offered by Boris Johnson and his Conservative Party.”