Jeremy Corbyn hits out over Queen’s Speech ‘farce’ led by Boris Johnson
The Labour leader reiterated his desire for the PM to extend the Brexit process to avoid a no deal before having a general election.
Jeremy Corbyn has accused Boris Johnson of presiding over a “farce” by unveiling a Queen’s Speech which “cannot be delivered” in this Parliament.
The Labour leader highlighted the Prime Minister’s lack of a majority and “100% record of defeat” in the Commons while claiming his party may soon be presenting its own Queen’s Speech within weeks.
Mr Corbyn reiterated his desire for Mr Johnson to extend the Brexit process to avoid a no deal before having a general election, adding the reason the Opposition had not already committed to such a poll was because they “don’t trust” the PM.
But Mr Johnson hit back and said he was fearing for Mr Corbyn’s “political health” given there had been “Soviet-era expulsions” among his circle, and accused Labour of planning “wanton expropriation” of private assets.
The PM added the Government needs to “get Brexit done” to avoid furthering uncertainty for businesses.
He also gave an “unequivocal guarantee” that legislation would enshrine the rights of EU nationals living in the UK post-Brexit.
Speaking in the Commons, Mr Corbyn said: “There has never been such a farce as a Government with a majority of minus 45 and a 100% record of defeat in the House of Commons setting out a legislative agenda they know cannot be delivered in this Parliament.”
He added: “We may only be just weeks away from the first Queen’s Speech of a Labour government.
“In that Queen’s Speech Labour will put forward the most radical and people-focused programme in modern times. A once-in-a-generation chance to rebuild and transform our country.”
He said Labour will “let the people decide on Brexit”, and “build an economy that works for all”.
Intervening, Tory former minister Sir Patrick McLoughlin asked Mr Corbyn why he had rejected the opportunity of a general election.
Mr Corbyn replied: “Quite simply because we don’t trust the Prime Minister.”
On Brexit, he added: “This Government has had three-and-a-half years to get Brexit done and they’ve failed. The only legitimate way to sort Brexit now is to let the people decide with a final say.”
To pass in the Commons, he said, any deal needed to meet the needs of workers and businesses.
Mr Corbyn bemoaned the lack of action on mental health and social care reform since 2017, adding Mr Johnson was offering the “same warm words”.
In response, Mr Johnson criticised the Labour leader for his position on Brexit, saying: “His policy on cake is neither having it, nor eating it.”
The PM added: “First he was opposed to no deal, now he seems to be opposed to any deal.
“First he was in favour of delivering Brexit, now he wants a second referendum.
“First he wanted an election, actually he wanted an election for quite a long time, now he’d much rather not.
“He resembles a Janus. A push-me-pull-you facing both directions at once and yet unable to decide for either.”
As Mr Johnson compared changes in the Labour leader’s top team to “Soviet-era expulsions”, Labour MPs pointed to MPs on the Government benches who had the Conservative whip withdrawn after voting for measures to block a no-deal Brexit.
Referring to Mr Corbyn, the PM said: “Frankly I fear for his political health,” adding: “We can see the Soviet-era expulsions that are taking place in his circle.
“As one by one, his lieutenants are purged as Lenin purged the associates of poor-old Trotsky.”
Pointing to shadow chancellor John McDonnell, the PM said: “And there is Lenin, the veteran fabricator of GLC budgets, as the shadow chancellor tightens his icy grip on the Labour Party.”
The Independent Group for Change’s Anna Soubry asked if Mr Johnson had “given up” on the HS2 B line to Leeds.
Mr Johnson replied: “She knows there is a review going on of HS2 but this is a Government that will be conducting the biggest infrastructure revolution of our times… I suggest that she… contains her impatience until the Chancellor unveils his budget on November 6.”
Tory Andrew Percy (Brigg and Goole) called on Mr Johnson not to tolerate any of the attempts to get a second referendum.
Mr Johnson replied: “If there could be one thing more divisive, more toxic than the first referendum, it would be a second referendum, let’s get Brexit done.”
He said: “The objective of Brexit is not just to give business the certainty of concluding this whole affair, it is of course to get on… take back control of our borders, our money, our laws, to enable us to champion our food and farming sectors in the way that we would desire.”