“No mandate, no morals and, as of today, no majority” – Corbyn’s Commons speech

Jeremy Corbyn

Below is the full text of Jeremy Corbyn’s response to the Prime Minister’s statement in the Commons this afternoon.

Mr Speaker, I thank the Prime Minister for an advance copy of his statement. I join with him in recognising the great human suffering, and great human bravery that defined that awful conflict, which began 80 years ago but was essential in defeating the disgusting fascism of the Nazis.

The Prime Minister met EU leaders over the summer and EU Council President Tusk at the G7. After these meetings, the Prime Minister struck an optimistic tone saying the chances of a deal were “improving”. His optimism is not shared by those who have been in those same meetings.

The Prime Minister may claim progress is being made. But EU leaders report that the UK government has so far failed to present any new proposals. Can the Prime Minister clear this up? Can he tell us if the UK has put forward any new proposals in relation to the backstop? If so, will he publish them so that these proposals can be scrutinised by parliament and the public?

It is becoming increasingly clear that this reckless government only has one plan: to crash out of the EU without a deal. That reality is exposed today in the in-house journal of the Conservative Party the Telegraph, which reports the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff calling negotiations “a sham” reports that the strategy is to “run down the clock”, and that the proposition to alter the backstop is a “complete fantasy” in the words of the Attorney General.

No deal will mean food shortages, reduced medical supplies and chaos at our ports. That isn’t me saying this, the government’s own leaked analysis says it, it warns of chaos across the board. Today, we had expected the publication of the government’s no deal preparations.

This government is hiding from scrutiny hiding from the people and hiding their true intentions. This isn’t just a government in chaos but a government of cowardice. Thankfully, some in Whitehall are putting these vital documents into the public domain. But we shouldn’t have to rely on sporadic leaks. So will the Prime Minister set out today, when these documents will be published so that people and parliament can scrutinise and debate them?

Many on the benches opposite would relish a no deal. They see it as an opportunity to open up Britain to a one-sided trade deal, which puts us at the mercy of Donald Trump and US corporations, and will increase the wealth of a few at the expense of the many.

When it comes to the crunch, Mr Speaker, too many on the government benches who once opposed a no deal outcome – are now putting their own careers – before the good of the people of this country.

Just look at all those Tory leadership candidates, who said it would be wrong to suspend parliament in order make no deal more likely, but sit passively as their principles of just a few weeks ago are cast aside.

And it gets worse. Not only have they all stood by while the Prime Minister launches his latest attack on democracy, some have repeatedly refused to rule out the possibility that the government could ignore any law passed by parliament to stop a no-deal Brexit.

So will the Prime Minister when he responds take the opportunity to assure the country that his government will abide by any legislation passed this week?

The attack on our democracy in order to force through a disastrous no deal Brexit is unprecedented, anti-democratic and unconstitutional. Labour will do all we can to protect our industry protect our democracy and protect our people against this reckless and dangerous government.

I hope the Prime Ninister will reflect on his use of language. We are not surrendering because we are not at war with the EU. They are our partners.

Mr Speaker, the UK should be using its position in the G7 to promote policies to tackle the climate emergency. The climate emergency is real. But instead of standing up to President Trump – to save his blushes this time – it was in fact agreed that there would be no joint communique on this at the G7.

This is not leadership – it is fiddling – while the Amazon burns. The situation across the Amazon should be a wake-up call for this Prime Minister, who once described global warming as a “primitive fear… without foundation”.

As we watch fires rage not only across the Amazon but Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo, does he stand by his sentiments? While funds to protect and restore the Amazon are welcomed, the Prime Minister knows this is a drop in the ocean.

So, will more money be pledged for the Amazon and are additional funds being made available to tackle fires in sub-Saharan Africa? And will he introduce measures to stop UK companies from aiding, abetting and profiting from the destruction of the Amazon?

The UK Parliament became the first state parliament anywhere in the world to declare a climate emergency, and I was proud to move that motion in May. We must continue to show global leadership on this issue.

On Iran, it is notable that the Prime Minister fails to condemn President Trump’s decision to unilaterally tear up the internationally-agreed Iran nuclear deal – creating this crisis, and which now risks a slide into an even deeper conflict.

Does the Prime Minister plan to work with European partners to restore the Iran nuclear deal and de-escalate tensions in the Gulf?

We are clear that in government, Labour would work tirelessly through the UN for a negotiated reinstatement of the nuclear deal and to defuse the threat of war in the Gulf. Effective diplomacy, not threats and bluster, must prevail.

And will the Prime Minister call on the Iranian authorities to end the unjust detention of Nazanin Zaghari Ratcliffe? What action has he taken so far to ensure her release?

Mr Speaker, we are all concerned about the situation in Hong Kong. No government, anywhere, should get to shutdown rights and freedoms or to pick and choose which laws it adheres to. Will he urge the Chinese government to stick with the joint declaration of 1984 and stand up for the rights of citizens in Hong Kong?

Mr Speaker, later today, this House has a last chance to stop this government from riding roughshod over constitutional and democratic rights in this country so that a cabal in Downing Street can crash us out without a deal without any democratic mandate and against the majority of public opinion. He isn’t winning friends in Europe. He’s losing friends at home. His is a government with no mandate, no morals and as of today, no majority.

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