Jeremy Corbyn today launches a fresh attack on Brexit-backing Tories on the basis of decades of deregulation, spending cuts and attacks on migrants.
In one of his most outspoken interventions in the EU debate, Corbyn accuses the Tories of playing “the blame game” and trying to turn the referendum into a poll on immigration.
The Labour leader will say he has a “vision for Europe and an agenda for change” which contrasts with the Tory Brexit campaign’s attempts to demonise immigrants and pose as guardians of an NHS which they have already undermined.
“Too many voices in this debate are only playing that old trick, the blame game. And when politicians play the blame game, it’s usually because they have nothing serious to offer themselves,” Corbyn is expected to say.
“The Conservative governments of Thatcher and Major scrapped financial regulations that would have prevented the banking crash and Labour failed to re-regulate, so blame our own governments, don’t blame the EU or immigrants.
“It was those same governments of the 1980s and early 90s that deregulated the labour market so that zero hours contracts could flourish and the share of wealth going to workers fell off a cliff. It is unscrupulous employers and politicians who have allowed temporary contracts, agency and enforced part-time working and bogus self-employment to mushroom. So blame the politicians, who opened the door to rampant job insecurity.”
Corbyn will also highlight the Tories who have repeatedly said Britain’s contributions to the EU could be re-directed towards funding for the NHS. The Leave campaign has been embroiled in controversy after alleging this country sends £350m a week to the EU – a claim which has been described by as “misleading” by Sir Andrew Dilnot, chair of the UK Statistics Authority.
Corbyn picked out the record of Justice Secretary Michael Gove, and former Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith who, he said, had voted to:
– cut mental health budgets.
– scrap nurses’ and midwives’ bursaries.
– slash social care for the elderly and disabled.
– open up “ever more” of the NHS to private companies and private patients
– pick “damaging and unnecessary” fights with junior doctors.
“Those pushing us to leave the EU, Conservative MPs like Iain Duncan Smith, Boris Johnson and Michael Gove say that more money could be spent on the NHS if we left,” Corbyn said.
“They’ve also promised more money for farming, for fishing, for university research, for tax cuts.
“They’ve promised our EU contribution over and over again. But does anyone really believe they’re the saviours of our NHS? Hardly. They really are wolves in sheep’s clothing.”