NEWS THIS WEEK - from Diane Abbott MP
This week I was delighted to take the lead for Labour in Prime Ministers’ Questions, and many thanks to everyone who has send kind messages and feedback.
I questioned this Tory government on their shameful record on issues relating to women, and you can see and share a video clip here.
Boris Johnson’s speech – Tories have failed on Brexit, failed on the economy, failed on housing and failed on schools.
Boris Johnson’s conference speech this week could not hide that the Conservatives have failed on Brexit, failed on the economy, failed on housing and failed on schools.
As John McDonnell MP, Labour’s Shadow Chancellor, said “The Brexit proposals reportedly being considered by Boris Johnson are neither credible nor workable. They are a cynical attempt to force through a No Deal Brexit.”
John added, “Any responsible Prime Minister would have spent the past three months trying to build a consensus in Parliament and across the EU in order to break the deadlock. However, Boris Johnson has neither the intention nor ability to negotiate a deal or protect jobs and communities across the United Kingdom.”
He is totally out of touch when he offers more tax cuts to the rich and corporations, when just yesterday we heard that 726 homeless people died on our streets last year. Additionally, there are four and a half million children living in poverty, with wages below the level that they were at the time of the 2008 economic crash.
This crisis the Tories have plunged our country into can only be settled by letting the people decide. We need a general election, followed by a public vote, as soon as the threat of No Deal is off the table.
Backstop proposals represent another failure of government’s Brexit negotiating strategy
Keir Starmer, Labour’s Shadow Brexit Secretary, has responded this week to reports of the Government’s ‘alternative’ to the backstop, saying that “If Boris Johnson had spent any time listening to businesses and communities in Northern Ireland, he would know that these proposals are utterly unworkable.”
They would place an enormous administrative burden on businesses and rely on technology that does not yet exist.
Crucially, if true, they represent a rowing back on the commitments made to the people of Northern Ireland two years ago that there would be no return to a hard border or related checks or controls.
As Keir also, said, “If accurate, these proposals represent yet another failure of the government’s negotiating strategy. The Prime Minister should admit he has no credible plan for Brexit and that the only way to resolve this issue is to go back to the people with a public vote.”
Boris Johnson has been caught out lying about a new hospital in Canterbury
It was reported this week that Boris Johnson has been caught out lying about a promise of a new hospital in Canterbury.
The reality is that the Tory ‘promise’ of 40 new hospitals unravelled as spin.
Boris Johnson should apologise for raising hopes of patients and NHS staff in Canterbury like this. Yet again this sorry episode proves you simply can’t trust the Tories with the NHS.
Chancellor refuses to commit to ending the social security freeze
The Tory Chancellor this week refused to commit to ending the social security freeze at Treasury Questions, leaving the door open to further cuts to income for the poorest in our society.
Although this was previously Government policy, the Chancellor has not set out any proposals for funding a lift in the freeze from April 2020.
14 million people are now in poverty in the UK, but all those struggling are an afterthought to this Tory government.
The Chancellor should immediately confirm that he will end the social security freeze in 2020, and set out his plans to fund this measure.
A record 726 homeless people died last year – a damning indictment of Tory austerity
New ONS figures this week revealed that a record 726 people died homeless last year. These figures are simply shameful in a country as rich as ours.
This is the highest year-to-year increase (22 per cent) since records began.
Labour is clear that high and rising homelessness is not inevitable. The number of people sleeping on our streets fell under Labour but has risen since 2010 as a direct result of the Conservatives slashing investment for low-cost homes, cutting back housing benefit, reducing funding for homelessness services, and denying protection to private renters.
The next Labour government will end rough sleeping within a Parliament and tackle the root causes of rising homelessness with more affordable homes and stronger rights for renters.
It’s about time the government started to invest in our young people
This week Cat Smith MP, Shadow Minister for Youth Affairs, responded to the Chancellor’s announcement of funding of youth services, saying, “It’s about time the government started to invest in our young people, however the Chancellor’s announcement falls far short from the funding needed to rebuild our decimated youth service.”
The reality is that we cannot trust this government is serious about ending austerity and championing young people’s needs.
Only Labour will match the ambition of our young people by giving them the support they need, so that every young person can access high quality youth work in their community.