Labour is trying to “pull our country back from the brink”, says Corbyn

Sienna Rodgers

Labour is “doing everything necessary to pull our country back from the brink”, Jeremy Corbyn will say in a speech in Salford on Monday, ahead of a special shadow cabinet meeting being held to finalise plans to block no deal.

The Labour leader will deliver a speech in Salford before opposition frontbenchers gather in the same area of Greater Manchester. They are expected to discuss schemes in light of Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend parliament for several weeks in the run-up to the Brexit date of October 31st.

The Prime Minister’s controversial move has already sparked protests across the country as well as havoc in the Conservative Party, particularly after it was reported that Johnson has threatened to remove the whip from Brexit rebels and deselect them as candidates at the next election.

On Monday morning, Corbyn will argue that the battle currently being waged against the government and Boris Johnson’s decision to prorogue parliament from the second week of September to mid-October isn’t one between Remainers and Leavers, but between ‘the many and the few’ – as per Labour’s slogan ‘for the many, not the few’.

He will also set out Labour’s plans for the economy, which the opposition leader describes as a “record investment blitz”. The ideas include a £250bn National Transformation Fund based in the North of England and Crossrail investment to link Northern cities.

Corbyn will refer to Labour’s intention to set up a National Investment Bank and network of regional development banks with a £250bn lending target. All of these suggestions aim to address regional disparities and target sectoral rebalancing of the British economy.

In his speech, Corbyn contextualises these policies as part of Labour’s overall goal to thoroughly democratise the UK economy, and link the plans to the message that ordinary voters have the power to “change in whose interests the economy works”.

On the damaging impact of no deal and Labour’s plans to stop it happening on October 31st, Corbyn will say: “Today the shadow cabinet will be meeting to finalise our plans to stop the disaster of no deal ahead of the return of parliament tomorrow. We are working with other parties to do everything necessary to pull our country back from the brink. Like all progressive change, democracy was won from below it wasn’t handed down from above.

“So when a prime minister who hasn’t won an election and who doesn’t have a majority decrees that parliament will be shut down because he knows his plan for a disastrous no deal doesn’t have the votes, we say that is an attack on democracy which will be resisted. The people will not allow a phoney populist cabal in Downing Street, in hock to the vested interests of the richest, to deny them their democratic voice.

“A no deal Brexit is really a Trump Deal Brexit, leading to a one-sided US trade deal that will put us at the mercy of Donald Trump and the big American corporations. The pally enthusiasm of the US President for Britain’s new prime minister only underlines that in Boris Johnson Trump has found a compliant British leader who will dance to his tune.

“The battle to stop no deal isn’t a struggle between those who want to leave the EU and those who want continued membership. It’s a battle of the many against the few who are hijacking the referendum result to shift even more power and wealth towards those at the top.”

Turning to his party’s policies in government, the Labour leader will outline the central planks of his proposals and contrast these with the approach of the Conservatives. The last nine years of Tory government has led to “fewer people employed and lower wages”, he will argue.

Corbyn will say: “The threat of no deal is adding to the damage already done to industry by nine years of Tory government. The Tories will always put first those who lend and speculate over those who make things. Manufacturing workers have lost out on £55 a week under the Tories. That’s the Conservative record on manufacturing – fewer people employed and lower wages.

“With the lenders and speculators in charge, wealth, power and opportunity aren’t shared across the country, they are concentrated around our capital. Labour has a serious plan to get our economy working in every town, city, region and nation of our country with a record investment blitz.

“Our £250bn National Transformation Fund, which will be based outside of London in the North, will power a massive upgrade to our infrastructure, from transport to energy to broadband. Labour will invest in Crossrail for the North to link our great Northern cities – from Liverpool in the North West, across to Hull in Yorkshire, and up to the North East.

“And Labour will set up a National Investment Bank backed up by a network of Regional Development Banks to provide a further £250bn of capital for emerging businesses and co-operatives.

“For decades politicians have told us the economy is beyond democratic control – like a force of nature that can lay waste to entire communities and we just have to grin and bear it. But it’s not true. Through voting, through democracy, you can change in whose interests the economy works.”

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