Jeremy Corbyn says the Conservative party has “failed” the UK and a general election is needed to change the “direction [of] the country”.
Speaking at a Labour event in Northamptonshire, the Labour leader confirmed his intention to call a no-confidence vote in Boris Johnson’s government and lead “a time-limited caretaker administration to avert no deal”.
The Labour leader said that Brexit has left the UK in “crisis” but he will do “everything necessary” to prevent the UK from leaving the EU without a deal.
And he said Tory MPs should support his no-confidence motion if they are serious about stopping no-deal, reports The Guardian.
Senior Brexiteers have urged Boris Johnson to call Corbyn’s bluff and announce a snap election, says The Daily Telegraph.
Former Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith told The Sun it would allow Johnson to frame voting Tory in the election as a chance to save Brexit: “If a confidence vote is called, an option for [Johnson] is to call an immediate vote for a General Election instead.
“For the Labour party to refuse that would mean a total loss of face, and we would win that Election, as it would be fought on who governs Britain and saving Brexit.”
Corbyn’s speech comes after a government report was leaked to The Sunday Times warning of food and medicine shortages and chaos at ports if the UK leaves the EU with no deal on 31 October.
Cabinet minister in charge of no-deal preparations Michael Gove called the contents of the report “what the very, very worst situation would be”.
Meanwhile, both Corbyn and Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell have joined calls for Parliament to resume sitting “in the next few days” to debate the possibility of a no-deal Brexit.
Renationalisation of water, rail, energy and mail
Labour’s Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell has pledged the creation of a Public and Community Ownership Unit in the Treasury, to handle the planned return of water, energy, rail and the Royal Mail to public ownership.
“We are ending the profiteering in dividends, vast executive salaries, and excessive interest payments,” he said.
Labour says that “the lack of investment in the networks, previous subsidies, excessive profit taking and the holes in existing final salary pension schemes should be deducted from the bill” when buying back the companies into national ownership, says The Guardian.
Expanding employee ownership
Labour provided details of its plans for inclusive ownership funds (IOF) at the 2018 party conference. The plan would force all large firms to give workers shares worth up to £500 a year each.
Every year “companies would transfer at least 1% of their ownership into the fund, up to a maximum of 10% total IOF shareholding”, reports The Guardian.
But Stephen Martin, director-general of the Institute of Directors, told the Financial Times that Labour’s policy could cause far-reaching damage to the UK economy, calling the move “draconian”.
And the CBI warned that Labour’s plans could prompt some investors to “pack their bags”.
Saving the high street
In September last year, Shadow Business Secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey unveiled a five-point action plan to support the UK’s struggling high streets.
“The five strands of the plan include ending ATM charges and bank branch and post office closures,” the Daily Mirror reports. “Labour wants to boost bus services, deliver free Wi-Fi to town centres, launch a register of landlords of empty shops and re-evaluate business rates annually. They also want to look at free parking.”
Scrapping free schools
Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner pledged to end the free school programme and restore the right of councils to open and “commission” new schools.
The creation of new schools will be backed by £8.4m in capital investment, which was announced in Labour’s 2017 general election manifesto.
And as the UK begins life under another Old Etonian, Labour activists are leaning on the party to abolish all private schools, reports the New Statesman – although it’s unlikely the leadership would go that far.
Jeremy Corbyn announced in his speech today that he would make it compulsory for councils to provide youth services. He said: “Police cuts are not the only reason violent crime has doubled.”
“What the Tories won’t address is the much wider impact of austerity; the closed youth services; under-resourced mental healthcare; and the lack of funding for community mentoring.”
“We take youth services so seriously that we will make it compulsory for local government to deliver them.”
General election or People’s Vote
Giving interviews ahead of today’s speech, John McDonnell said Jeremy Corbyn would host talks with other opposition party leaders next week to explore ways of preventing a no-deal Brexit, reports the Guardian.
He also claimed that the numbers of parliamentarians backing a second referendum was growing: “There is a gaining majority now to say we have to go back to the people in some form of public vote.”
“That is, in my view, a referendum. That’s the Labour party policy now”, he added.
However, he did not rule out the Labour Party staying neutral in a second referendum. While he said he would back a Remain vote, he said the party would need to debate and go through a “democratic process” to establish its position.
And when Corbyn was asked in a Q&A after his speech, he too refused to rule out Labour remaining neutral in any People’s Vote on Brexit.