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Engagements
Debate between John Bercow and Jeremy Corbyn
Wednesday 30 October 2019

(2 months, 3 weeks ago)

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Commons Chamber
Cabinet Office
Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Hansard
30 Oct 2019, 12:23 p.m.

Coming from a Prime Minister who withdrew his own Bill, that seems a bit odd. My question was about somebody whose mother had died and who believes that that is because of the shortage of staff within the NHS. I had hoped that the Prime Minister would have shown some empathy and answered that question, because GP numbers are falling, there is a 43,000-nurse shortage in the NHS, and the NHS has suffered the longest spending squeeze ever in its history. The choice at this election could not be clearer. People have a chance to vote for real change after years of Conservative and Lib Dem cuts, privatisation and tax handouts for the richest. This Government have put our NHS into crisis, and this election is a once-in-a-generation chance to end privatisation in our NHS, give it the funding it needs and give it the doctors, nurses, GPs and all the other staff it needs. Despite the Prime Minister’s denials, our NHS is up for grabs by US corporations in a Trump-style trade deal. Is it not the truth—[Interruption.]

Mr Speaker Hansard

Order. The right hon. Gentleman will not be shouted down under any circumstances. He will complete his inquiry to the satisfaction of the Chair, and people who think otherwise will quickly learn that they are, as usual, wrong.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Hansard

Despite the Prime Minister’s denials, the NHS is up for grabs by US corporations in a Trump trade deal. Is it not the truth—the Government may not like this—that this Government are preparing to sell out our NHS? Our health service is in more danger than at any other time in its glorious history because of the Prime Minister’s Government, his attitudes and the trade deals that he wants to strike.

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Early Parliamentary General Election Bill
Debate between John Bercow and Jeremy Corbyn
Tuesday 29 October 2019

(2 months, 3 weeks ago)

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Commons Chamber
Cabinet Office
Mr Speaker Hansard
29 Oct 2019, 2:46 p.m.

Order. The right hon. Gentleman should resume his seat. He has been in the House since 2001 so he is familiar with parliamentary etiquette, which stipulates quite clearly that when somebody who has the Floor is not giving way, he should accept the verdict. He does not have a right to intervene and he should have learned that by now.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Hansard
29 Oct 2019, 2:47 p.m.

Thank you, Mr Speaker.

I want to make the point that we want any election to involve as many people as possible. It is meant to be a big exercise in democracy, and I hope the amendments—

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Early Parliamentary General Election
Debate between John Bercow and Jeremy Corbyn
Monday 28 October 2019

(2 months, 3 weeks ago)

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Commons Chamber
Cabinet Office
Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North) (Lab) - Parliament Live -

This is a Prime Minister who cannot be trusted. Having illegally prorogued Parliament for five weeks for his Queen’s Speech, he now abandons that Queen’s Speech. He got his deal through on Second Reading, then abandoned it. He promised us a Budget on 6 November, and then he abandoned that too. He said he would never ask for an extension, and he said he would rather die in a ditch—another broken promise! Every promise this Prime Minister makes, he abandons. He said he would take us out of the European Union by 31 October—[Interruption.]

Mr Speaker

Order. Let us have some measure of decorum in the debate.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn -

The Prime Minister said he would take us out of the European Union by 31 October, do or die.

Break in Debate

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn -

No.

The Prime Minister spent £100 million—£100 million—on an advertising campaign to leave on 31 October, but failed to deliver. This is serious, Mr Speaker. The National Audit Office says that the campaign “failed to resonate”. I ask the Prime Minister, and I ask this House: with that £100 million, how many nurses could have been hired, how many parcels could have been funded at food banks, how many social care packages could have been funded for our elderly? The Prime Minister has failed because he has chosen to fail, and now he seeks to blame Parliament. That is £100 million of misspent public money.

At the weekend, we learned from the former Chancellor that the Prime Minister’s deal was offered to the former Prime Minister 18 months ago, but she rejected it as being not good enough for the United Kingdom. We have a rejected and recycled deal that has been misrepresented by Ministers in this House, no doubt inadvertently. The Prime Minister said, in terms, there would be no checks on goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland; the Brexit Secretary himself has confirmed that there will be. The Prime Minister made promises to Labour Members about workers’ rights; I remember his saying, with all the concentration he could muster, that workers’ rights would be protected by him. The leak to the Financial Times on Saturday shows these promises simply cannot be trusted. He says the NHS is off the table for any trade deal, yet a majority of the British public do not trust him. And why should they? Thanks to a Channel 4 “Dispatches” programme—[Interruption.] This is actually quite an important point that the Prime Minister might care to listen to. [Interruption.] I will go through it again: thanks to—[Interruption.]

Mr Speaker

Order. The right hon. Gentleman is entirely at liberty to do so. If there are people trying to shout the Leader of the Opposition down, stop it; it is deeply low grade.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn -

As I was saying, thanks to a Channel 4 “Dispatches” programme we learn that secret meetings—[Interruption.] Conservative Members might find this funny, but actually it is quite serious for our national health service.

Break in Debate

Mr Speaker

It does not need to be investigated at all. Unfortunately, it is not even a very good try at a bogus point of order; as the smile on the face of the hon. Gentleman readily testifies, it is a very substandard attempt.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn -

I think this section is very important, so I will go through it again. Thanks to a Channel 4 “Dispatches” programme we learn that secret meetings have taken place between UK Government officials and representatives of US pharmaceutical firms at which the price of national health service drugs has been discussed.

We have a Prime Minister who will say anything and do anything to get his way. He will avoid his responsibilities and break his promises to dodge scrutiny. And today he wants an election and his Bill. Well, not with our endorsement. He says he wants an election on 12 December. How can we trust him to stick to that date when we do not yet have legal confirmation of the extension? The Prime Minister has not formally accepted, and the other 27 have not confirmed following that acceptance. The reason I am so cautious is quite simply that I do not trust the Prime Minister.

Break in Debate

Mr Speaker

For the avoidance of doubt, such matters are not matters for the Chair, but the Prime Minister has made his own point, apparently to his own satisfaction.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn -

I simply say this to the Prime Minister: if he always obeys the law, why was he found guilty by the Supreme Court?

Break in Debate

Mr Speaker

I take careful note of what the Father of the House has said, and I am certainly open to any such discussions, but it does require willing participants, and it remains to be seen, with the passage of time, whether that be so. But I think everybody will be attentive—on this occasion, as on every other—to what, on the basis of 49 years’ experience in the House, the Father of the House has had to say to us.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn -

Further to that point of order, Mr Speaker. I apologise to you and to the Prime Minister for not being here at the point when he raised his point of order. I was detained outside the Chamber; I am now back here.

I understand that a Bill will be tabled tomorrow. We will obviously look at and scrutinise that Bill. We look forward to a clear, definitive decision that no deal is absolutely off the table and there is no danger of this Prime Minister not sticking to his word—because he has some form on these matters—and taking this country out of the EU without any deal whatever, knowing the damage it will do to jobs and industries all across this country.

Mr Speaker

That point stands in its own right.

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Oral Answers to Questions
Debate between John Bercow and Jeremy Corbyn
Wednesday 23 October 2019

(3 months ago)

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Commons Chamber
Cabinet Office
Mr Speaker Hansard
23 Oct 2019, 12:14 p.m.

Order. Mr Russell-Moyle, you are an incorrigible individual, yelling from a sedentary position at the top of your voice at every turn. Calm yourself man; take some sort of soothing medicament from which you will benefit.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Parliament Live - Hansard

Two questions and we are still waiting for an answer, although we could do with a translation of the first part of the Prime Minister’s response.

I hate to break it to the Prime Minister, but under his Government and that of his predecessor, privatisation has more than doubled to £10 billion in our NHS. There are currently 20 NHS contracts out to tender, and when he promised 40 hospitals, he then reduced that to 20, and then it turns out that reconfiguration is taking place in just six hospitals. So these numbers keep tumbling down for the unfunded spending commitments that he liberally makes around the country.

The Prime Minister continues to say that he will exclude our NHS from being up for grabs in future trade deals. Can he point to which clause in the withdrawal agreement Bill secures that?

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European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill
Debate between John Bercow and Jeremy Corbyn
Tuesday 22 October 2019

(3 months ago)

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Commons Chamber
Cabinet Office
Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Parliament Live - Hansard

My right hon. Friend’s constituency, which I know very well, was once a centre of manufacturing in Britain, but the Government of Margaret Thatcher put paid to that. He is right that, in the event of tariffs being introduced on manufactured goods and in the event of WTO conditions, the opportunities for sales in the European market, which are obviously huge at present, would be severely damaged. I ask colleagues to think carefully about what I see as the dangers behind the Prime Minister’s approach, because he does not offer a safety net—[Interruption.] There are so many people trying to intervene. Can I deal with one at a time, please? That would be kind. The Prime Minister does not offer a safety net—[Interruption.]

Mr Speaker Hansard
22 Oct 2019, 2:33 p.m.

Order. If I may gently say to the hon. Member for Isle of Wight (Mr Seely), it is at the very least a tad tactless, when he has just been advised that the Leader of the Opposition is dealing with one intervention first, immediately to spring to his feet. I enjoin him to remember his emotional intelligence.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Parliament Live - Hansard
22 Oct 2019, 2:34 p.m.

I do not think there is any process that allows an intervention on an intervention on an intervention. I think you would probably notice it, Mr Speaker.

Break in Debate

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Parliament Live - Hansard

I will give way to my hon. Friend, with his quiet demeanour, but let me just say, on workers’ rights, that by removing any level playing field provision the Government are asking us to give them a blank cheque on rights at work.

Mr Speaker Parliament Live - Hansard
22 Oct 2019, 2:57 p.m.

It is a great relief to the House; I was worried that the hon. Gentleman might explode in the atmosphere, which would have been a most unfortunate scenario.

Break in Debate

Mr Speaker Parliament Live - Hansard
22 Oct 2019, 3:03 p.m.

Order. The Leader of the Opposition has made it clear that he is not giving way at the moment. There is a fine line between beseeching someone and hectoring, and Members are in danger of falling on the wrong side of that dividing line. The Leader of the Opposition is entitled to continue with his speech, and he will do so until he is ready to give way.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Parliament Live - Hansard
22 Oct 2019, 3:03 p.m.

Thank you, Mr Speaker.

See more like "Prime Minister’s Statement"

Prime Minister’s Statement
Debate between John Bercow and Jeremy Corbyn
Saturday 19 October 2019

(3 months ago)

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Commons Chamber
Cabinet Office
Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North) (Lab) - Hansard
19 Oct 2019, 9:56 a.m.

I join you, Mr Speaker, in thanking all the staff—cleaning staff, catering staff, security staff, officials and our own staff—who have come into the House this morning. They have given up a weekend to help our deliberations. I also thank the Prime Minister for an advance copy of his statement.

The Prime Minister has renegotiated the withdrawal agreement and made it even worse. He has renegotiated the political declaration and made that even worse. Today, we are having a debate on a text for which there is no economic impact assessment and no accompanying legal advice.

The Government have sought to avoid scrutiny throughout the process. Yesterday evening, they made empty promises on workers’ rights and the environment—the same Government who spent the last few weeks negotiating in secret to remove from the withdrawal agreement legally binding commitments on workers’ rights and the environment.

This Government cannot be trusted, and the Opposition will not be duped; neither will the Government’s own workers. Yesterday, the head of the civil service union Prospect met the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and, at the conclusion of that meeting, said:

“I asked for reassurances that the government would not diverge on workers’ rights after Brexit… He could not give me those assurances.”

As for the much-hyped “world-leading” Environment Bill, its legally binding targets will not be enforceable until 2037. For this Government, the climate emergency can always wait.

This deal risks people’s jobs, rights at work, our environment and our national health service. We must be honest about what it means for our manufacturing industry and people’s jobs: not only does it reduce access to the market of our biggest trading partner, but it leaves us without a customs union, which will damage industries across the country in every one of our constituencies. From Nissan in Sunderland to Heinz in Wigan, Airbus in Broughton and Jaguar Land Rover in Birmingham, thousands of British jobs depend on a strong manufacturing sector, and a strong manufacturing sector needs markets, through fluid supply chains, all across the European Union. A vote for this deal would be a vote to cut manufacturing jobs all across this country.

This deal would absolutely inevitably lead to a Trump trade deal—[Interruption]—forcing the UK to diverge from the highest standards and expose our families once again to chlorine-washed chicken and hormone-treated beef. This deal—[Interruption.]

Mr Speaker Hansard
19 Oct 2019, 9:59 a.m.

Order. I did say that the statement by the Prime Minister must be heard. The response of the Leader of the Opposition, in the best traditions of parliamentary democracy, must also be heard, and it will.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Hansard
19 Oct 2019, 10 a.m.

This deal fails to enshrine the principle that we keep pace with the European Union on environmental standards and protections, putting at risk our current rules on matters ranging from air pollution standards to chemical safety—we all know the public concern about such issues—at the same time that we are facing a climate emergency.

As for workers’ rights, we simply cannot give the Government a blank cheque. Mr Speaker, you do not have to take my word for that. Listen, for example, to the TUC general secretary, Frances O’Grady, who says—[Interruption.] She represents an organisation with 6 million affiliated members, and she says:

“This deal would be a disaster for working people. It would hammer the economy, cost jobs and sell workers’ rights down the river.”

Listen to Make UK, representing British manufacturers, which says—[Interruption.] Government Members may care to listen to its comments on the deal. Make UK says that

“commitments to the closest possible trading relationship in goods have gone. Differences in regulation between the UK and the EU will add cost and bureaucracy and our companies will face a lack of clarity inhibiting investment and planning.”

Listen also to the Green Alliance, which says that the deal amounted to a

“very sad Brexit read from a climate perspective.”

The message is clear that this deal is not good for jobs and is damaging for our industry and a threat to our environment and our natural world. It is not a good deal for our country, and future generations will feel the impact. It should be voted down by this House today.

I also totally understand the frustration and fatigue across the country and in this House, but we simply cannot vote for a deal that is even worse than the one that the House rejected three times. The Government’s own economic analysis shows that this deal would make the poorest regions even poorer and cost each person in this country over £2,000 a year. If we vote for a deal that makes our constituents poorer, we are not likely to be forgiven. The Government are claiming that if we support their deal, it will get Brexit done, and that backing them today is the only way to stop a no-deal exit. I simply say: nonsense. Supporting the Government this afternoon would merely fire the starting pistol in a race to the bottom in regulations and standards.

If anyone has any doubts about that, we only have to listen to what the Government’s own Members have been saying. Like the one yesterday who rather let the cat out of the bag by saying that Members should back this deal as it means we can leave with no deal by 2020. [Hon. Members: “Ah.”] The cat is truly out of the bag. Will the Prime Minister confirm whether that is the case? If a free trade agreement has not been done, would that mean Britain falling on to World Trade Organisation terms by December next year, with only Northern Ireland having preferential access to the EU market?

No wonder, then, that the Foreign Secretary said that this represents a “cracking deal” for Northern Ireland, which would retain frictionless access to the single market. That does prompt the question: why is it that the rest of the UK cannot get a cracking deal by maintaining access to the single market?

The Taoiseach said that the deal

“allows the all-Ireland economy to continue to develop and… protects the European single market”.

Some Members of this House would welcome an all-Ireland economy, but I did not think that they included the Government and the Conservative and Unionist party. The Prime Minister declared in the summer:

“Under no circumstances… will I allow the EU or anyone else to create any kind of division down the Irish Sea”.

We cannot trust a word he says.

Voting for a deal today will not end Brexit, and it will not deliver certainty. The people should have the final say. Labour is not prepared to sell out the communities that it represents. We are not prepared to sell out their future, and we will not back this sell-out deal. This is about our communities now and about our future generations.

See more like "European Union (Withdrawal) Acts"

European Union (Withdrawal) Acts
Debate between John Bercow and Jeremy Corbyn
Saturday 19 October 2019

(3 months ago)

Read Full debate
Commons Chamber
Department for Exiting the European Union
Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North) (Lab) - Hansard
19 Oct 2019, 3:39 p.m.

Further to that point of order, Mr Speaker. I welcome today’s vote. Parliament has clearly spoken. [Interruption.]

Mr Speaker Hansard

Order. The Prime Minister was heard. [Interruption.] Yes, he was; do not argue the toss with the Chair. I am telling you what the situation is, and everybody can detect that the Prime Minister was heard. The Leader of the Opposition will be heard, too. It is as simple and unarguable as that.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Hansard
19 Oct 2019, 2:55 p.m.

I welcome today’s vote. It is an emphatic decision by this House, which has declined to back the Prime Minister’s deal today and clearly voted to stop a no-deal crash-out from the European Union. The Prime Minister must now comply with the law. He can no longer use the threat of a no-deal crash-out to blackmail Members to support his sell-out deal. Labour is not prepared to sell out the communities that we represent. We are not prepared to sell out their future, and we believe that ultimately the people must have the final say on Brexit, which actually only the Labour party is offering.

Today is an historic day for Parliament, because it has said that it will not be blackmailed by a Prime Minister who is apparently prepared, once again, to defy a law passed by this Parliament. I invite him to think very carefully about the remarks he just made about refusing, apparently, to apply for the extension that the European Union (Withdrawal) (No. 2) Act requires him to do.

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Debate on the Address
Debate between John Bercow and Jeremy Corbyn
Monday 14 October 2019

(3 months, 1 week ago)

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Commons Chamber
Cabinet Office
Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Hansard

There is no question. My hon. Friend is absolutely right. This legislation is designed to hit the poorest the hardest: those who do not have passports or access to other forms of identity, and who will thus lose their right to vote and decide who governs in the future. [Interruption.]

Mr Speaker Parliament Live - Hansard
14 Oct 2019, 3:22 p.m.

Order. The right hon. Gentleman will give way when he chooses. He does not need to be told what to do by people gesticulating at him. Stop it. It is low grade, downmarket and out of keeping with the code.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Hansard
14 Oct 2019, 3:23 p.m.

Freedom of movement has given opportunities to millions of British people to live, work and retire across Europe. It has benefited our economy immensely, with European Union workers playing a key role in sustaining many of our industries and public services. No responsible Member would vote to rip that up, unless there is a proper plan in place. In the shadow of the Windrush scandal, the settled status scheme for European Union citizens risks another round of wrongful denial of rights and shameful deportations. I look forward to the Prime Minister assuring those European Union citizens, who have made such an enormous contribution to our lives and our society, that they will have a secure future in this country.

The Government say that they will be at the forefront of solving the most complex international security issues and global challenges, yet they are playing precisely no role in stopping the horrors unfolding in the Kurdish areas of northern Syria, ending the war and humanitarian crisis in Yemen, or standing up for the rights of the Rohingya, the Uighurs, or the people of Palestine, Ecuador or Hong Kong. They are continuing to cosy up to Donald Trump, and sitting idly by as he wrecks the world’s efforts to tackle climate change and nuclear proliferation.

As the hon. Member for Brighton, Pavilion (Caroline Lucas) said in an intervention, the crisis of our age is the climate emergency as declared by this House in May, but there is no action announced in the Queen’s Speech. I pay tribute to the climate school strikers and to Extinction Rebellion. Sadly, the Government have not listened. The Prime Minister derided them as “nose-ringed…crusties”, although I note that their number included a Conservative former Member of the European Parliament, who I believe is related to the Prime Minister. So many people are concerned about bad air quality, the failure to invest in renewable energy, the pollution of our rivers and seas, and the loss of biodiversity. Only this Government have the power and resource to tackle the climate emergency if they wanted to, but they are missing with inaction. It is Labour that will bring forward a green new deal to tackle the climate emergency.

The legislative programme is a propaganda exercise that the Government cannot disguise. This Government have failed on Brexit for over three years. They are barely beginning to undo the damage of a decade of cuts to our public services. It does nothing for people struggling to make ends meet. It does nothing to make our world a safer place or tackle the climate emergency. The Prime Minister promised that this Queen’s Speech would dazzle us. On closer inspection, it is nothing more than fool’s gold.

See more like "Prime Minister's Role in Creating a Safe Environment"

Prime Minister's Role in Creating a Safe Environment
Debate between John Bercow and Jeremy Corbyn
Thursday 26 September 2019

(3 months, 4 weeks ago)

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Commons Chamber
Wales Office
Mr Speaker Parliament Live - Hansard
26 Sep 2019, 12:16 p.m.

What the Minister has said is absolutely right: that code of conduct has to be enforced and, indeed, as far as the Chamber is concerned, adjudicated by the Chair. The record is clear and the evidence is there for all to see. People can observe week after week after week after week that there can be abuses on both sides—for example, during Prime Minister’s questions—and every time without fail the Chair intervenes to seek to restore order. It has been the case, it is the case, and it will always be the case. It is not a matter of party politics; it is a matter of procedural propriety, and that is the way that it must continue to be.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North) (Lab) - Parliament Live - Hansard
26 Sep 2019, 12:16 p.m.

I start by congratulating my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Yardley (Jess Phillips) on securing this urgent question.

It is extremely disappointing that the Prime Minister has not respected this House by attending here today. His language and demeanour yesterday was, frankly, nothing short of disgraceful. Three years ago, our colleague—our Member of Parliament—Jo Cox was murdered by a far right activist, shouting, “Britain First. This is for Britain.” The language that politicians use matters and has real consequences. To dismiss concerns from Members about the death threats that they receive and to dismiss concerns that the language used by the Prime Minister is being repeated in those death threats is reprehensible. To dismiss those concerns in an abusive way, as he did, is completely unacceptable. I pay tribute to my hon. Friends the Members for Dewsbury (Paula Sherriff), and for Batley and Spen (Tracy Brabin), and other Members, including the right hon. Member for Broxtowe (Anna Soubry), for what they said yesterday.

Today, I have written to all Members of the parliamentary Labour party expressing solidarity with my friends and setting out the conduct expected of all colleagues. No part of this House, as you have said, Mr Speaker, has a monopoly of virtue. Inappropriate language has been used by all parties, but we all have a duty to keep our debates political and not to descend into personal abuse.

I disagreed profoundly with the previous Prime Minister, but she did offer cross-party talks to try to find a compromise. She also set out her approach to this House, allowing for scrutiny and debate. I was pleased to participate in a meeting with her and other party leaders about conduct and abuse in the House and around the parliamentary estate. The current Prime Minister, unfortunately, has sought to entrench divisions, refused to set out any detail of the deal that he is seeking and continues to pledge that we will leave with no deal on 31 October, despite the fact that this House has voted against, and legislated against, such an outcome. Not only should he comply with the law, but he should come to this House and apologise for his conduct yesterday, which fell well below the standards expected by the people of this country of the way their elected representatives should behave, should speak and should treat each other.

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Prime Minister's Update
Debate between John Bercow and Jeremy Corbyn
Wednesday 25 September 2019

(3 months, 4 weeks ago)

Read Full debate
Commons Chamber
Cabinet Office
Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North) (Lab) - Parliament Live - Hansard
25 Sep 2019, 6:45 p.m.

I thank the Prime Minister for giving me an advance copy of his statement. Unfortunately, it was like his illegal shutting down of Parliament—“null” and

“of no effect and should be quashed”,

in the words of the Supreme Court. This was 10 minutes of bluster from a dangerous Prime Minister who thinks he is above the law, but in truth he is not fit for the office he holds. I am glad to see so many colleagues back here doing what they were elected to do: holding the Government to account for their failings. Whether it is their attempt to shut down democracy, their sham Brexit negotiations, their chaotic and inadequate no-deal preparations, the allegations of corruption, their failure on climate change or their failure to step in to save Thomas Cook, this Government are failing the people of Britain, and the people of Britain know it—[Interruption.]

Mr Speaker Hansard

Order. I said that the Prime Minister should not be shouted down. The same goes for the Leader of the Opposition. Let me say to people bellowing from a sedentary position: stop it—you will exhaust your vocal cords, you will get nowhere, it will not work, and these proceedings will continue for as long as is necessary for the Chair to be satisfied that proper scrutiny has taken place. It is as simple and incontrovertible as that.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Parliament Live - Hansard
25 Sep 2019, 6:47 p.m.

Thank you, Mr Speaker.

Yesterday’s Supreme Court verdict represents an extraordinary and, I believe, precarious moment in this country’s history. The highest court in this land has found that the Prime Minister broke the law when he tried to shut down our democratic accountability at a crucial moment in our public life. The judges concluded that there was no reason,

“let alone a good reason”,

for the Prime Minister to have shut down Parliament. After yesterday’s ruling, the Prime Minister should have done the honourable thing and resigned, yet here he is—forced back to this House to rightfully face the scrutiny he tried to avoid—with no shred of remorse or humility and, of course, no substance whatsoever.

Let us see if he will answer some questions. Does the Prime Minister agree with his Attorney General that the Government “got it wrong”, or with the Leader of the House that the Supreme Court committed a “constitutional coup”? This is a vital question about whether the Government respect the judiciary or not.

The Attorney General was categorical that the Government would comply with the European Union (Withdrawal) (No. 2) Act 2019. Can the Prime Minister confirm that?

I pay tribute to those MPs from all parties across the House, to the Lords and to those in the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly who have not only fought so hard to stop a disastrous no deal, but continued to take the case against Prorogation through the courts. The Government have failed to silence our democracy.

During the period of unlawful Prorogation, the Government were forced to release their Yellowhammer no-deal analysis and plans. No wonder the Prime Minister has been so eager to avoid scrutiny and hide the dangers of his Brexit plan. The release of those documents leads to many questions that the Government must answer now that our Parliament is back in operation.

I would like to start by asking the Prime Minister why the Government in August described leaked Yellowhammer documents as out of date. When the documents were later produced in September, they were word for word the same. It is clear that they have tried to hide from the people the truth—the real truth—of a no-deal Brexit and the fact that their policy would heap misery on the people of this country.

Let us take a look at the analysis: chaos at Britain’s ports, with months of disruption; people going short of fuel and fresh foods—[Interruption.] It is your paper, you wrote it and you tried to hide it. [Interruption.] I beg your pardon, Mr Speaker—I do not hold you responsible for writing the document. There would be disruption of people’s vital medical supplies, rises in energy prices for every household in the country, and a hard border for the people of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Most damning of all is the passage that simply says:

“Low income groups will be disproportionately affected”.

There we have it, Mr Speaker: a simple warning, a simple truth, that a Tory Government are continuing to follow a policy they know will hit the poorest people in our country the hardest. They simply do not care.

The damning document we have seen is only six pages long. It is only right that this House should expect more transparency from the Government.

The Government say that they are doing all they can to get a deal before 31 October, but the truth is that the Prime Minister has put hardly any effort into negotiations. Any progress looks, at the most generous, to be minimal. Only yesterday, the European Union’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, said that there was

“no reason today for optimism”.

Why does the Prime Minister believe Mr Barnier has that view? This House is still yet to hear any detail of any deal the Government seek to negotiate. We are told the Government have distributed papers to Brussels outlining proposals for a change to the backstop. Will the Prime Minister publish these papers and allow them to be debated in this House of Parliament? For this Government to have any credibility with our people, they need to show they have an actual plan.

The Prime Minister also has questions to answer about his conduct in public office and, in particular, about allegations that he failed to declare an interest in the allocation of public money to a close friend while he was Mayor of London. It was announced today that, in light of the Sunday Times report, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport is reviewing the funds allocated. Did the Prime Minister initiate that review? Will he fully co-operate with the DCMS review and that of the London Assembly? Will he refer himself to the Cabinet Secretary for investigation? No Prime Minister is above the law.

No one can trust the Prime Minister, not on Iran, not on Thomas Cook, not on climate change and not on Brexit. For the good of this country—[Interruption.]

Mr Speaker Hansard
25 Sep 2019, 6:56 p.m.

Order. The Leader of the Opposition is entitled to be heard in this Parliament, and he will be heard. [Interruption.] Order. I do not mind how long it takes, these exchanges will take place in an orderly manner. Be in no doubt about that.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Parliament Live - Hansard
25 Sep 2019, 6:57 p.m.

Thank you, Mr Speaker.

Quite simply, for the good of this country, the Prime Minister should go. He says he wants a general election. I want a general election. It is very simple: if he wants an election, get an extension and let us have an election.

Break in Debate

Mr Speaker Parliament Live - Hansard
25 Sep 2019, 9:55 p.m.

I have known the hon. Lady since she entered the House in 2005, and we have worked together on a number of matters in the past. Rather than issue a lengthy reply now, I would like to reflect on what she said. I am also happy to meet Members—either individually or in groups if they wish—to consider further these matters. We certainly need to take very great care in the days and weeks ahead, and I am as sensitive to that matter as I think I can be. Let me reflect further on what the hon. Lady has said, and I will be happy to see her either for a Privy Counsellor-type conversation or in another form if she so wishes.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North) (Lab) - Hansard

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. Thank you for what you have just said—and the sincerity with which you said it—about the threats made to Members of Parliament; the abuse, racism and violence happening in our communities; and the unfortunate messages that come from the language used, which is then repeated on the streets when people threaten public representatives and others with violence. May I ask you to use your excellent and very good offices to call together the leaders of all parties in this House to issue a joint declaration opposing any form of abusive language or threats? We should put the message out to our entire community that we have to treat each other with respect. If we do not, those on our streets who would do violence feel emboldened to do it and the most vulnerable people in our society suffer as a result. It happens in my constituency and in their constituencies of every other Member of this House. We are an elected Parliament, and we have a duty and responsibility to protect all our citizens from the kind of inflammatory language that has been used that is then meted out on the streets in a form of violence against individuals.

Mr Speaker Parliament Live - Hansard

I will reflect carefully on the point of order just raised by the Leader of the Opposition. I am very open to convening a meeting of senior colleagues for the purpose of a House-wide public statement. I do not wish now to prolong these exchanges, but I take extremely seriously what has been said to me.

See more like "European Union (Withdrawal) (No. 2) Act 2019 (Rule of Law)"

European Union (Withdrawal) (No. 2) Act 2019 (Rule of Law)
Debate between John Bercow and Jeremy Corbyn
Monday 09 September 2019

(4 months, 2 weeks ago)

Read Full debate
Commons Chamber
Mr Speaker

Before we come to the debate proposed by the right hon. and learned Member for Beaconsfield (Mr Grieve), I call the Leader of the Opposition to make an application for leave to propose a debate on another specific and important matter that should have urgent consideration under the terms of Standing Order No. 24. The right hon. Gentleman has up to three minutes in which to make such an application.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North) (Lab) -

Thank you, Mr Speaker. I will be brief, because the whole House wants to get on to the important debate that you have just agreed to. I want to ask for a very urgent debate on what I consider to be a matter of overriding importance and seriousness. The motion reads:

“That this House has considered the welcome completion of all parliamentary stages of the European Union (Withdrawal) (No. 2) Act and has considered the matter of the importance of the rule of law and Ministers’ obligation to comply with the law.”

I welcome the passage of the European Union (Withdrawal) (No. 2) Act, which has just received Royal Assent. However, there is deep concern not just across the House but across the whole country at the Government’s commitment to abide by the obligations set out in that Act and the outright statements in some quarters that they will disregard or seek to evade the law that has just received Royal Assent and therefore is an Act of Parliament. I am therefore asking you to grant an urgent debate under Standing Order No. 24, on behalf of the people of this country who want to live in a democratic society where the Government abide by the rule of law, on whether the Prime Minister will obey the law that this House has just passed into law.

Mr Speaker

The right hon. Gentleman asks for leave to propose a debate on a specific and important matter that should have urgent consideration: the welcome completion of all parliamentary stages of the European Union (Withdrawal) (No. 6) Bill—sometimes colloquially known, probably in the pubs and clubs of the United Kingdom, as the Benn-Letwin Bill—and has considered the matter of the importance of the rule of law and Ministers’ obligation to comply with the law.

I have listened carefully to the right hon. Gentleman’s application. Adherence to the law—goodness! Yes, I am satisfied that the matter raised on the last day before the Prorogation of this Parliament is proper to be discussed under Standing Order No. 24. Has the right hon. Gentleman the leave of the House?

Application agreed to (not fewer than 40 Members standing in support).

See more like "Points of Order"

Points of Order
Debate between John Bercow and Jeremy Corbyn
Monday 09 September 2019

(4 months, 2 weeks ago)

Read Full debate
Commons Chamber
Cabinet Office
Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North) (Lab) -

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. I want to put on record my thanks to you for being a superb Speaker of this House, my thanks to you as a colleague in Parliament, and my thanks to your family for the way in which they have supported you through often very difficult times when many of the media have been very unfair on you. Your two sons are getting good at football. I did some kicks with them in Speaker’s Court the other day and I was very impressed, actually; they are coming on well. And I know you support the same club as me.

In your role as Speaker, you have totally changed the way in which the job has been done. You have reached out to people across the whole country. You have visited schools, you have visited factories, you have visited offices; you have talked to people about the role of Parliament and democracy. I have never forgotten you coming to City and Islington College in my constituency and spending the morning with me talking to a group of students, all of whom had learning difficulties, and we discussed with them the roles of democracy and Parliament.

You have taken absolutely on board the words of Speaker Lenthall that you are there to be guided by and act on behalf of our Parliament. This Parliament is the stronger for your being Speaker. Our democracy is the stronger for your being the Speaker. Whatever you do when you finally step down from Parliament, you do so with the thanks of a very large number of people, and as one who has made the role of Speaker in the House more powerful, not less powerful. I welcome that. As somebody who aspires to hold Executive office, I like the idea of a powerful Parliament holding the Executive to account; it is something I have spent the last 35 years doing myself.

So, Mr Speaker, enjoy the last short period in your office, but it is going to be one of the most dramatic there has been. I think your choice of timing and date is incomparable and will be recorded in the history books of parliamentary democracy. Mr Speaker, on behalf of the Labour party I thank you for your work in promoting democracy and this House. Thank you.

Mr Speaker

Thank you. I just say to the right hon. Gentleman, the Leader of the Opposition, that he is very much more experienced and senior than I, but I think that as Back Benchers in our respective parties we did have quite a lot in common. Certainly, speaking for myself, as a Back Bencher, and frequently as an Opposition Front Bencher, I found that I had a relationship with my Whips characterised by trust and understanding—I didn’t trust them and they didn’t understand me.

See more like "European Union (Withdrawal) (No. 2) Act 2019 (Rule of Law)"

European Union (Withdrawal) (No. 2) Act 2019 (Rule of Law)
Debate between John Bercow and Jeremy Corbyn
Monday 09 September 2019

(4 months, 2 weeks ago)

Read Full debate
Commons Chamber
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Mr Speaker

We now come to the motion in the name of the Leader of the Opposition, to be moved under Standing Order No. 24. I remind the House, although I am sure that colleagues are keenly conscious of every word of it, that the motion is

“That this House has considered the welcome completion of all parliamentary stages of the European Union (Withdrawal) (No. 6) Bill and has considered the matter of the importance of the rule of law and Ministers’ obligation to comply with the law.”

I call the Leader of the Opposition to move the motion.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North) (Lab) -

I beg to move,

That this House has considered the welcome completion of all parliamentary stages of the European Union (Withdrawal) (No. 6) Bill and has considered the matter of the importance of the rule of law and Ministers’ obligation to comply with the law.

I welcome the decision that the House has just reached, and I look forward to the Government abiding by and accepting that decision, and the necessary documents being released.

I begin by welcoming the cross-party efforts of many Members of the House in getting the European Union (Withdrawal) (No. 2) Act passed into law, particularly those of my right hon. Friend the Member for Leeds Central (Hilary Benn) and the right hon. Member for West Dorset (Sir Oliver Letwin). Parliament has passed a law to ensure that the will of Parliament is upheld. The fact that Parliament is compelled to pass a law to ensure that its will is upheld shows what extraordinary times we live in. The House has rejected no deal. Businesses and trade unions are united in rejecting no deal, and there is no majority for it across the country. The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, the co-convenor of the Vote Leave campaign, said in March this year:

“We didn’t vote to leave without a deal”.

It is clear—there is no mandate for no deal.

In trying to diminish the Act, the Government’s spin doctors have branded it the surrender Bill, and Ministers have dutifully trotted out that phrase in the media. The Minister who is going to reply has already replied, like Pavlov’s dogs always do.

I remind the House again: we are not at war. The Prime Minister seems obsessed with hyperbole and aggressive language: “surrender Bill”; “do or die”; “rather be dead in a ditch”; and the list goes on. We are supposed to be having negotiations with our European partners. The lives at stake as a result of all this are not those of the Prime Minister or his Cabinet.

Break in Debate

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn -

No, I will not give way. I have made that clear already.

In her resignation letter, the right hon. Member for Hastings and Rye said the Prime Minister had committed an

“assault on democracy and decency”.

I would go further: the Prime Minister is also threatening an assault on the rule of law. He was asked on Friday whether he would abide by the provisions of the European Union (Withdrawal) (No.6) Bill, as it then was, and said he would rather die in a ditch. I do not wish him any ill. I do, however, wish that he would come to the Dispatch Box, set out his detailed plan for Brexit and confirm that he will abide by the law. More than that, the people of this country deserve, and democracy demands, up-front answers from the Prime Minister. So far, no answers have been forthcoming.

I hope the Prime Minister will live up to the office he holds, accept the decisions made by this Parliament, and carry out the wishes of the Act to ensure an application is made to prevent this country crashing out on 31 October, with all the damage that will do to food supplies, medicine supplies, and industrial supplies, and prevent his longer-term ambitions of heading this country in a totally different direction which many, many people are truly frightened of. The Prime Minister could sort this out very quickly if he just had the courtesy to come to the House and confirm he will accept all the provisions of the Act the House has just passed.

Mr Speaker

I seek a right hon. or hon. Member on the Government Benches, but it is not immediately obvious that any wishes to contribute. [Laughter.] I do not see why that is a source of such hilarity; I am just making a rather prosaic, factual observation. [Interruption.] Order. Who was that chuntering from a sedentary position?

Break in Debate

Mr Speaker

To wind up the debate, as it is in his name, I call the right hon. Gentleman, Mr Jeremy Corbyn.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn -

It is extraordinary that the House is having to debate whether the Prime Minister will abide by a law that has just been passed by Parliament, and that the same Prime Minister, who managed to be here for the Division earlier, cannot be here to answer questions from Members, and no Law Officers are present either. All the Members who have spoken raised questions—

See more like "Early Parliamentary General Election (No. 2)"

Early Parliamentary General Election (No. 2)
Debate between John Bercow and Jeremy Corbyn
Monday 09 September 2019

(4 months, 2 weeks ago)

Read Full debate
Commons Chamber
Cabinet Office
Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North) (Lab) -

The only point of any importance that the Prime Minister has just included in his speech is his clear indication that he does not intend to follow the law that has just been passed that requires him to ask for an extension in certain circumstances. He also gave no answer on the two decisions this House has already made today concerning the publication of Yellowhammer documents and his own behaviour as Prime Minister in respect of laws agreed by this House. He seems to have failed to grasp that those on the Opposition Benches have actually been very clear and that the House has expressed its will: until the Act has been complied with and no deal has been taken off the table, we will not vote to support the Dissolution of this House and a general election.

I want an election, as the Prime Minister pointed out, and the Conservative party has very generously broadcast footage of me and my friends saying that we want an election. I do not retreat from that at all; we are eager for an election, but as keen as we are, we are not prepared to risk inflicting the disaster of no deal on our communities, our jobs, our services, or indeed our rights. [Interruption.]

No deal would not be a clean break. It would not mean just getting on with it. It would start a whole new period of confusion and delay, but this time set against a backdrop of rising unemployment, further de-industrialisation and deepening poverty all across this country. [Interruption.]

Mr Speaker

Order. I said a moment ago that the Prime Minister should not be shouted down. Let me say to those who are shouting their heads off that it will be readily obvious to people observing our proceedings that that is exactly what they are trying to do, including some extraordinarily stupid and noisy yelling from people secreting themselves behind the Chair and thinking they are being clever. It is very low grade, it is very downmarket, it is very substandard, it is very boring, it is very predictable, and if the Whips operated any sort of discipline, they would tell those people to try to get a life.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn -

The point I was making was that this will be against a backdrop of unemployment, increasing deindustrialisation and deepening poverty within our society, so it is not surprising that the Government were so keen to hide the Yellowhammer documents—their own documents—which would demonstrate that to be the case. We have no faith that the Government are seeking a deal in good faith. Indeed, the former Work and Pensions Secretary said in her resignation letter:

“I no longer believe leaving with a deal is the government’s main objective.”

EU leaders have received no proposals. Government Ministers have offered no explanation of the deal they are seeking—even if there is such a deal—let alone any worked-out proposals to be presented to Parliament for scrutiny. It is no wonder they are so keen to prorogue so early, to avoid any scrutiny of what they are doing.

The only conclusion that can be reached—and it is backed up by all the leaked reports in the press—is that the Government’s pretensions to negotiate are nothing but a sham. The Prime Minister knows full well that there is no mandate for no deal, no majority support for it in the country and no majority support for it in this House, but he refuses to rule it out and refuses to set out any proposals to avoid it. This is a very serious issue: the Prime Minister is running away from scrutiny with his blather and his shouting. Many people, including the right hon. Member for Hastings and Rye (Amber Rudd), are increasingly coming to the conclusion that no deal is his only answer, but he has no mandate for that. The last general election gave no mandate for no deal, and the 2016 referendum gives no mandate for it. The co-convenor of the Vote Leave campaign said in March this year that

“we didn’t vote to leave without a deal.”

He is now the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. No deal is opposed by every business group, every industry group and every trade union, and it has been opposed in votes in this House.

I want to turf out this reckless Government—[Interruption.] This Government that are driving up poverty, deepening inequality, scapegoating migrants, whipping up divisions and failing this country. A general election is not something for the Prime Minister to play about with for propaganda points, or even his very poor quality posts on social media, so perhaps he can, possibly for the last time in this Session of Parliament, answer some questions. First—[Interruption.]

Mr Speaker

Order. [Interruption.] Order. Order. Mr Philp, you are very loud and rancorous. Calm down, young man! You are getting very over-excited—very, very over-excited—and you can do a lot better than that. You must try to do so.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn -

First, where are the Prime Minister’s proposals for the renegotiations? Where are they? When were they published? What is their content?

Secondly, if the Prime Minister seeks no deal, why does he not argue for it and seek the mandate for it that the Government do not so far possess? There is no mandate for no deal. [Interruption.] No, I am not giving way. Thirdly, if, as he claims, the Prime Minister is making progress—

Break in Debate

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn -

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. [Interruption.] I think we have had quite enough playground politics from the Conservative party this evening. The one thing the Prime Minister did not say was that he was going to obey the law of this country. He did not say that he acknowledged or accepted three votes that have taken place in this Parliament. At his request, the House is now apparently due to be prorogued this evening for one of the longest prorogations in history simply in order to avoid any questioning of what he is doing or not doing, simply to avoid discussion about Yellowhammer, and particularly to avoid any discussion about the proposals that have been put to the European Union that he has or does not have or that do or do not exist. This Government are a disgrace, and the way the Prime Minister operates is a disgrace—[Interruption.]

Mr Speaker

Order. Be quiet.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn -

I hope that the Prime Minister will reflect on proroguing and shutting down Parliament to avoid a Government being held to account, because that is exactly what is doing today and proposes to do to this country.

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Engagements
Debate between John Bercow and Jeremy Corbyn
Wednesday 04 September 2019

(4 months, 2 weeks ago)

Read Full debate
Commons Chamber
Cabinet Office
Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Hansard
4 Sep 2019, 12:15 p.m.

Mr Speaker, you don’t have to go very far from the portals of this House to see real destitution: people begging and sleeping on the streets; child poverty is up compared with 2010; pensioner poverty is up; and in-work poverty is up. The Prime Minister will not give us any of the information of the assessments of increased poverty that could come from his Government’s proposals.

We are less than 60 days away from leaving the EU with no deal. The Prime Minister had two days in office before the summer recess and then planned to prorogue Parliament. Yesterday, he lost one vote—his first vote in Parliament—and he now wants to dissolve Parliament. He is desperate—absolutely desperate—to avoid scrutiny. [Interruption.] In his third day in office, after five questions from me, we have not had an answer to any of them. I can see why he is desperate to avoid scrutiny: he has no plan to get a new deal—no plan, no authority and no majority. If he—[Interruption.]

Mr Speaker Hansard
4 Sep 2019, 12:17 p.m.

Order. If we have to go on longer because people sitting on the Treasury Bench are yelling to try to disrupt, so be it, we will go on longer. Some people used to believe in good behaviour; I believe in good behaviour on both sides of the House. It had better happen or it will take a whole lot longer—very simple, very clear.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Hansard
4 Sep 2019, 12:17 p.m.

Thank you, Mr Speaker.

If the Prime Minister does to the country what he has done to his party in the past 24 hours, a lot of people have a great deal to fear from his incompetence, his vacillation and his refusal to publish known facts—that are known to him—about the effects of a no-deal Brexit.

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G7 Summit
Debate between John Bercow and Jeremy Corbyn
Tuesday 03 September 2019

(4 months, 3 weeks ago)

Read Full debate
Commons Chamber
Cabinet Office
Mr Speaker Parliament Live - Hansard

Order. For the avoidance of doubt, there is no vote on a Bill tonight. There is a vote on a motion, and if that motion is successful there will be a Bill tomorrow. [Interruption.] Order. I say this simply because the intelligibility of our proceedings to those observing them is important, and I am sure that everybody from all parts of the House will recognise that fundamental truth.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North) (Lab) - Parliament Live - Hansard
3 Sep 2019, 3:51 p.m.

I thank the Prime Minister for an advance copy of his statement. I join with him in recognising the great human suffering of world war two and the great human bravery that took place during that awful conflict that began 80 years ago, which was essential in defeating the disgusting ideology of the Nazis and of fascism at that time.

The Prime Minister met EU leaders over the summer and EU Council President Tusk at the G7 summit. After those meetings, the Prime Minister struck an optimistic note, saying that the chances of a deal were, in his words, “improving”. His optimism was not shared by those who had been at the same meetings. The Prime Minister may claim that progress is being made, but EU leaders report that the Government have so far failed to present any new proposals. Can the Prime Minister clear this up? Can he tell us whether the UK has put forward any new proposal in relation to the backstop? If it has, will he publish them so that these proposals can be scrutinised by Parliament and by the public?

It is becoming increasingly clear that this reckless Government have only one plan: to crash out of the EU without a deal. The reality is exposed today in the in-house journal of the Conservative party—otherwise known as The Daily Telegraph—which reports that the Prime Minister’s chief of staff has called the negotiations “a sham”, that the strategy is to “run down the clock”, and that the proposal to alter the backstop is “a complete fantasy”—and those are the words of the Attorney General.

No deal will mean food shortages, reduced medical supplies and chaos at our ports. It is not me saying that; it is the Government’s own leaked analysis that says that, and it warns of chaos across the board. Today, we had expected the publication of the Government’s no deal preparations. The Government are hiding from scrutiny and hiding from the people and they are trying to hide us from their true intentions. This is not just a Government in chaos, but a Government of cowardice. Thankfully, some in Whitehall are putting those vital documents into the public domain, but we should not have to rely on sporadic leaks. Will the Prime Minister set out today when these documents will be published so that the people and Parliament can scrutinise and debate them? Many on the Government Benches would relish a no deal. They see it as an opportunity to open up Britain to a one-sided trade deal that puts us at the mercy of Donald Trump and United States corporations and that will increase the wealth of a few at the expense of the many.

When it comes to the crunch, 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 that it would be wrong to suspend Parliament in order to make no deal more likely, but who sit passively as their principles of just a few short weeks ago are cast aside—I do not know what they were doing over their summer holidays, but something has changed. And it gets worse, because not only have they all stood by while the Prime Minister launches his latest attack on democracy, but some have repeatedly refused to rule out the possibility of the Government ignoring any law passed by Parliament that attempts to stop a no-deal Brexit. Will the Prime Minister therefore take this opportunity, when he responds in a moment, to assure the country that his Government will abide by any legislation passed by Parliament 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 dangerous and reckless Government.

I condemn the rhetoric that the Prime Minister used when he talked about a “surrender Bill”. I really hope that he will reflect on his use of language. We are not surrendering because we are at war with Europe; they are surely our partners. If anything, it is a no-deal exit that would mean surrendering our industry, our jobs, and our standards and protections in a trade deal with Donald Trump and the United States.

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, it was in fact agreed this time, in order to save his blushes, that there would be no joint communiqué on this at the G7. That is not leadership; that is fiddling while the Amazon burns. The situation across the Amazon should be a wake-up call to the Prime Minister, who once described global warming as a “primitive fear…without foundation”. As we watch fires rage, and not only across the Amazon but in Angola and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, does he stand by those sentiments?

While funds to protect and restore the Amazon rain forest are welcome, the Prime Minister knows that this is merely 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? Will he be introducing measures to stop UK companies aiding, abetting and profiting from the destruction of the Amazon rain forest, and indeed rain forests in west Africa? On 1 May 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. We must continue to show global leadership on the issue.

On Iran, it is notable that the Prime Minister fails to condemn President Trump’s unilateral decision to tear up the internationally agreed Iran nuclear deal, creating a crisis that now risks a slide into 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. Will he call on the Iranian authorities to end the unjust detention of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, and what actions has he taken so far to ensure her release from the terrible situation that she has been plunged into?

We are all concerned about the situation in Hong Kong. No Government anywhere should get to shut down rights and freedoms, or to pick and choose which laws they adhere to. Will the Prime Minister urge the Chinese Government to stick to the joint declaration of 1984 and stand up for the rights of citizens in Hong Kong?

Later today, this House has a last chance to stop this Government riding roughshod over constitutional and democratic rights in this country, so that a cabal in Downing Street cannot crash us out without a deal, without any democratic mandate and against the majority of public opinion. The Prime Minister is not winning friends in Europe; he is losing friends at home. His is a Government with no mandate, no morals and—as of today—no majority.

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Points of Order
Debate between John Bercow and Jeremy Corbyn
Tuesday 03 September 2019

(4 months, 3 weeks ago)

Read Full debate
Commons Chamber
Cabinet Office
Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North) (Lab) - Parliament Live - Hansard

Further to that point of order, Mr Speaker. I welcome tonight’s vote. We live in a parliamentary democracy. We do not have a presidency; we have a Prime Minister. Prime Ministers govern with the consent of the House of Commons representing the people in whom sovereignty rests. There is no consent in this House to leave the EU without a deal. There is no majority for no deal in the country. As I have said before, if the Prime Minister has confidence in his Brexit policy—when he has one he can put forward—he should put it before the people in a public vote. So he wants to table a motion for a general election. Fine—get the Bill through first in order to take no deal off the table. [Interruption.]

Mr Speaker Parliament Live - Hansard
3 Sep 2019, 10:14 p.m.

Order. It is very rude for Members—[Interruption.] Order. I say to the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster that, when he turns up at our children’s school as a parent, he is a very well-behaved fellow. He would not dare to behave like that in front of Colin Hall, and neither would I. Do not gesticulate. Do not rant. Spare us the theatrics. Behave yourself. Be a good boy, young man. Be a good boy. [Interruption.] Yes, we know the theatrics that the right hon. Gentleman perfected in the Oxford Union. We are not interested. Be quiet.

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Priorities for Government
Debate between John Bercow and Jeremy Corbyn
Thursday 25 July 2019

(6 months ago)

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Commons Chamber
Cabinet Office
Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North) (Lab) - Parliament Live - Hansard

I welcome the right hon. Gentleman to his position and thank him for an advance copy of his statement.

No one underestimates this country, but the country is deeply worried that the new Prime Minister overestimates himself. He inherits a country that has been held back by nine years of austerity that hit children and young people the hardest. Their youth centres have closed, their school funding has been cut and their college budgets slashed, and with the help of the Liberal Democrats, tuition fees have trebled. Housing costs are higher than ever, and jobs are lower paid. Opportunity and freedom have been taken away. Austerity was always a political choice, never an economic necessity—[Interruption.]

Mr Speaker Hansard

Order. I indicated that people would not shout down the Prime Minister. Precisely the same applies to the Leader of the Opposition. Don’t try it: you are wasting your vocal cords and, above all, it won’t work. The right hon. Gentleman will be heard and these exchanges will take as long as they will take, whatever other appointments people might have. The right hon. Gentleman will be heard. Stop it!

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Parliament Live - Hansard
25 Jul 2019, 11:50 a.m.

Thank you, Mr Speaker.

The right hon. Gentleman’s predecessor promised to end austerity, but spectacularly failed to deliver. People do not trust the Prime Minister to make the right choices for the majority of people in this country when he is also promising tax giveaways to the richest and big business—his own party’s funders. So can he now indicate when he will set out the detail of the exact funding settlement for our schools and for our hard-pressed local authorities and police, so that they can start planning now? We must also address the deep regional inequalities in this country. The northern powerhouse has been massively underpowered and the midlands engine has not been fuelled, so will the Prime Minister match Labour’s commitment to a £500 billion investment fund to rebalance this country through regional development banks and a national transformation fund?

The right hon. Gentleman has hastily thrown together a hard-right Cabinet. I have just a couple of questions on those appointments. Given his appointment of the first Home Secretary for a generation to support the death penalty, can he assure the House now that his Government have no plans to try to bring back capital punishment to this country? And before appointing the new Education Secretary, was he given sight of the Huawei leak investigation by the Cabinet Secretary?

I am deeply alarmed to see no plan for Brexit. The right hon. Gentleman was in the Cabinet that accepted the backstop and, of course, he voted for it on 30 March this year. It would be welcome if he could set out what he finds so objectionable, having voted for it less than four months ago. Can he explain this flip-flopping? The House will have a sense of déjà-vu and of trepidation at a Prime Minister setting out rigid red lines and an artificial timetable. There is something eerily familiar about a Prime Minister marching off to Europe with demands to scrap the backstop, so why does he think he will succeed where his predecessor failed?

However, I do welcome the Prime Minister’s commitment finally to guarantee the rights of European Union citizens. It is a great shame that this offer has only been made now, more than three years after my party put that proposal before this House. Our friends, neighbours and family should never have been treated as bargaining chips, which has caused untold stress and worry to people who have worked so hard for this country and the communities that make it up.

Does the Prime Minister accept that, if he continues to pursue a reckless no deal, he will be directly flouting the expressed will of this Parliament? Industry, business and unions have been absolutely clear about the threat that that poses: no deal means no steel, no car industry, food prices dramatically rising and huge job losses. Make UK, representing much of manufacturing industry, says no deal would be

“the height of economic lunacy”.

Companies from Toyota to Asda have been clear about the dangers of no deal. Is the Prime Minister still guided by his “f*** business” policy? Those recklessly advocating no deal will not be the ones who lose out. The wealthy elite who fund him and his party will not lose their jobs, see their living standards cut or face higher food bills.

If the Prime Minister has confidence in his plan, once he has decided what it is, he should go back to the people with that plan. Labour will oppose any deal that fails to protect jobs— [Interruption.] We will oppose any deal that fails to protect jobs, workers’ rights or environmental protections. If he has the confidence to put that decision back to the people, we would, in those circumstances, campaign to remain.

The office of— [Interruption]

Mr Speaker Hansard
25 Jul 2019, 11:56 a.m.

Order. It will take as long as it takes. I have plenty of time; I am totally untroubled by these matters.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Parliament Live - Hansard
25 Jul 2019, noon

The office of Prime Minister requires integrity and honesty, so will the Prime Minister correct his claim that kipper exports from the Isle of Man to the UK are subject to EU regulations? Will he also acknowledge that the £39 billion is now £33 billion, due over 30 years, and has been legally committed to be paid by his predecessor? This is a phoney threat about a fake pot of money, made by the Prime Minister.

We also face a climate emergency, so will the Prime Minister take the urgent actions necessary? Will he ban fracking? Will he back real ingenuity like the Swansea Bay tidal lagoon? Will he increase investment in carbon capture and storage? Will he back our solar industry and onshore wind—so devastated over the last nine years? Will he set out a credible plan to reach net zero?

I note that the climate change-denying US President has already labelled the Prime Minister “Britain Trump” and welcomed his commitment to work with Nigel Farage. Could “Britain Trump” take this opportunity to rule out once and for all our NHS being part of any trade deal—any trade deal—with President Trump and the USA? Will the Prime Minister make it clear that our national health service is not going to be sold to American healthcare companies? People fear that, far from wanting to “take back control”, the new Prime Minister would effectively make us a vassal state of Trump’s America.

Will the Prime Minister ask the new Foreign Secretary to prioritise the release of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and is he working with European partners to restore the Iran nuclear deal and de-escalate tensions in the Gulf?

The challenge to end austerity, tackle inequality, resolve Brexit and tackle the climate emergency will define the new Prime Minister. Instead, we have a hard-right Cabinet staking everything on tax cuts for the few and a reckless race-to-the-bottom Brexit. He says he has “pluck and nerve and ambition”; our country does not need arm-waving bluster; we need competence, seriousness and, after a decade of divisive policies for the few, to focus for once on the interests of the many.

See more like "Engagements"

Engagements
Debate between John Bercow and Jeremy Corbyn
Wednesday 17 July 2019

(6 months, 1 week ago)

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Commons Chamber
Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Parliament Live - Hansard

rose—[Interruption.]

Mr Speaker Parliament Live - Hansard
17 Jul 2019, 12:07 p.m.

Order. The right hon. Gentleman will be heard. Attempts to shout him down are downmarket, low grade, regarded with contempt by the public and, above all, will not work. Be quiet.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Parliament Live - Hansard

This party was the first to introduce anti-racist legislation into law in Britain. This party totally opposes racism in any form whatsoever. Antisemitism has no place in our society, no place in any of our parties and no place in any of our dialogues. Neither does any other form of racism.

Some 60% of Tory party members think Islam is a threat to western civilisation. The Prime Minister has said that she will act on Islamophobia within her own party. I hope she does. I look forward to seeing that being dealt with, as we will deal with any racism that occurs within our own party as well.

Last week, the Committee on Climate Change published its annual report, which described the Government’s efforts on climate change not a bit like what the Prime Minister just said; it described them as being run like “Dad’s Army”. The Government’s target is to reduce carbon emissions by 57% by 2030. Can the Prime Minister tell us how much progress has been made on that?

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Oral Answers to Questions
Debate between John Bercow and Jeremy Corbyn
Wednesday 10 July 2019

(6 months, 2 weeks ago)

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Commons Chamber
Cabinet Office
Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Parliament Live - Hansard

My party is totally committed to eliminating racism in any form and antisemitism in any form. While the Prime Minister is about the lecturing, how about the investigation into Islamophobia in her party? [Interruption.]

Mr Speaker Parliament Live - Hansard
10 Jul 2019, 12:13 p.m.

Order. Mr Bowie, you are as noisy as your illustrious late namesake, David Bowie, but, sadly, nothing like as melodic, my dear chap.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Parliament Live - Hansard
10 Jul 2019, 11:55 a.m.

This is one lecture the Prime Minister might not want to take from me, but she might care to listen to what the United Nations said when it condemned the UK Government for their “grave” and “systematic violations” of the rights of disabled people. The Windrush scandal has resulted in the Government having to allocate £200 million in compensation to people wrongly deported from this country and denied services, with their lives totally pulled apart. These are people who have given their life to this country and our services. Does she think that scandal would have happened if legal aid had not been slashed by the Government and so many of those people had not been denied any representation in court?

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Engagements
Debate between John Bercow and Jeremy Corbyn
Wednesday 03 July 2019

(6 months, 3 weeks ago)

Read Full debate
Commons Chamber
Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Parliament Live - Hansard
3 Jul 2019, 12:07 p.m.

The Prime Minister could not get her own party to support it. The Opposition parties did not support it either. As the danger of no deal looms ever larger, JLR, Ford, Nissan, Toyota and BMW have all said that no deal would threaten their continued presence in the UK. The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders has said:

“Leaving the EU without a deal would trigger the most seismic shift in trading conditions ever experienced”.

Furthermore, within the last week Vauxhall has said that its decision to produce the new Astra at Ellesmere Port will be conditional on the final terms of the UK’s exit from the EU. What can the Prime Minister say to workers at Ellesmere Port and elsewhere—[Interruption.]

Mr Speaker Parliament Live - Hansard
3 Jul 2019, 12:08 p.m.

Order. The right hon. Gentleman will not be shouted down under any circumstances. If you are shouting, stop it. You can do better, and if you cannot, it is about time you did.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Parliament Live - Hansard
3 Jul 2019, 12:08 p.m.

Why does the Prime Minister not speak to both candidates to succeed her and remind them that as they trade insults over no deal, thousands of jobs are at risk the more they ratchet up their rhetoric?

Break in Debate

Mr Speaker Hansard
3 Jul 2019, 12:09 p.m.

Order. Ms Onn, you are very over-excitable. Calm yourself.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Parliament Live - Hansard
3 Jul 2019, 12:09 p.m.

The Labour party is about protecting jobs and living standards in this country, not crashing out without a deal. With tariffs up to 40% on some basic foodstuffs, will the Prime Minister set out exactly what impact no deal would have on food prices and on the farming industry in this country?

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Employment: West Midlands
Debate between John Bercow and Jeremy Corbyn
Wednesday 12 June 2019

(7 months, 2 weeks ago)

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Commons Chamber
Cabinet Office
Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Parliament Live - Hansard

The legacy of the Prime Minister’s Government is one of failure. They claimed that they would tackle burning injustices; they failed. They told pensioners that their benefits were safe; now, they are taking away free TV licences for the over-75s. They promised action on Grenfell; two years on, there is still flammable cladding on thousands of homes across this country. They promised a northern powerhouse; they failed to deliver it, and every northern newspaper is campaigning for this Government to power up the north. They promised net zero by 2050, yet they have failed on renewables, and are missing—[Interruption.]

Mr Speaker Parliament Live - Hansard
12 Jun 2019, 12:22 p.m.

Order. The right hon. Gentleman will not be shouted down; it is not going to happen. Do not waste your breath. It is not productive, and it is terribly boring.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Parliament Live - Hansard
12 Jun 2019, 12:22 p.m.

They promised net zero by 2050, yet they have failed on renewables and are missing their climate change targets. They promised an industrial strategy; output is falling. Which does the Prime Minister see as the biggest industrial failure of her Government: the car industry, the steel industry, or the renewables industry? Which is it?

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Engagements
Debate between John Bercow and Jeremy Corbyn
Wednesday 22 May 2019

(8 months ago)

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Commons Chamber
Cabinet Office
Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Parliament Live - Hansard

What this Government have squandered is what they inherited: children’s centres, Sure Start, children taken out of poverty. They squandered the future for so many of our children. [Interruption.]

Mr Speaker Parliament Live - Hansard

Order. Mr Burghart, you are an educated young man. When you came into the House, you struck me as a very well behaved fellow. Calm yourself and listen.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Parliament Live - Hansard
22 May 2019, 12:09 p.m.

The Department for Education’s funding chief met school leaders recently and told them:

“the first thing to say is obviously they are not generous budgets”—

he is very cautious with his words—

“They are budgets which leave schools with real pressures to face”.

Everyone agrees that the creative industries in this country are an enormous strength to our economy, so why have the arts borne the brunt of the Government’s brutal cuts to school funding? So many children are losing out on music and creative arts in our schools because of decisions by central Government.

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Engagements
Debate between John Bercow and Jeremy Corbyn
Wednesday 15 May 2019

(8 months, 1 week ago)

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Commons Chamber
Cabinet Office
Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Parliament Live - Hansard

My question was about food banks in a Government office—[Interruption.]

Mr Speaker Hansard

Order. I am very, very worried about you, Mr Spencer. You used to be such a calm and measured fellow. You are now behaving in an extraordinarily eccentric manner—almost delinquent. Calm yourself, young man, and your condition will improve.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Hansard
15 May 2019, midnight

My question was about a food bank in a Government Ministry, which seems to suggest that in-work poverty is the problem in Britain.

The Trussell Trust handed out 1.6 million food parcels last year, half a million of which went to children. A new report out today by the End Child Poverty coalition shows that child poverty has risen by half a million and is becoming the new norm in this country. The End Child Poverty coalition called on Ministers to restore the link between inflation and social security. Will the Prime Minister do that, to try to reduce the disgraceful levels of child poverty in this country?

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Environment and Climate Change
Debate between John Bercow and Jeremy Corbyn
Wednesday 01 May 2019

(8 months, 3 weeks ago)

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Commons Chamber
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Mr Speaker Parliament Live - Hansard
1 May 2019, 1:47 p.m.

I must inform the House that I have not selected either of the amendments.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North) (Lab) - Parliament Live - Hansard
1 May 2019, 1:47 p.m.

I beg to move,

That this House declares an environment and climate emergency following the finding of the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change that to avoid a more than 1.5°C rise in global warming, global emissions would need to fall by around 45 per cent from 2010 levels by 2030, reaching net zero by around 2050; recognises the devastating impact that volatile and extreme weather will have on UK food production, water availability, public health and through flooding and wildfire damage; notes that the UK is currently missing almost all of its biodiversity targets, with an alarming trend in species decline, and that cuts of 50 per cent to the funding of Natural England are counterproductive to tackling those problems; calls on the Government to increase the ambition of the UK’s climate change targets under the Climate Change Act 2008 to achieve net zero emissions before 2050, to increase support for and set ambitious, short-term targets for the roll-out of renewable and low carbon energy and transport, and to move swiftly to capture economic opportunities and green jobs in the low carbon economy while managing risks for workers and communities currently reliant on carbon intensive sectors; and further calls on the Government to lay before the House within the next six months urgent proposals to restore the UK’s natural environment and to deliver a circular, zero waste economy.

Today the House must declare an environment and climate emergency. We have no time to waste. We are living in a climate crisis that will spiral dangerously out of control unless we take rapid and dramatic action now. This is no longer about a distant future; we are talking about nothing less than the irreversible destruction of the environment within the lifetimes of Members.

Young people know this. They have the most to lose. A few weeks ago, like many other Members on both sides of the House, I was deeply moved to see the streets outside Parliament filled with colour and the noise of children chanting “Our planet, our future”. For someone of my generation, it was inspiring but also humbling that children felt that they had to leave school to teach us adults a lesson. The truth is that they are ahead of the politicians on this, the most important issue of our time. We are witnessing an unprecedented upsurge of climate activism, with groups such as Extinction Rebellion forcing the politicians in this building to listen. For all the dismissive and offensive column inches that the protesters have provoked, they are a massive and, I believe, very necessary wake-up call. Today we have the opportunity to say, “We hear you.”

Break in Debate

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Parliament Live - Hansard
1 May 2019, 1:50 p.m.

I congratulate the hon. Member for Totnes (Dr Wollaston), who represents an absolutely wonderful town where environment is at the core of the lives of many people. We are not here to debate the EU or Brexit, about which everyone will be very pleased, but I would say that, under any proposal from my party, we would import into the UK all the environmental regulations the EU has adopted, most of which are very good and progressive, although often they do not go far enough, and there would be a dynamic—

Mr Speaker Parliament Live - Hansard
1 May 2019, 1:51 p.m.

Order. I gently ask the right hon. Gentleman to face the House so we can all hear him.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Hansard
1 May 2019, 1:51 p.m.

Mr Speaker, you are absolutely the last person I would want to be offensive to, so I apologise. We would ensure that there is a dynamic relationship with those regulations, so I am trying to please both sides at the present time—[Interruption.] Such is the joy of politics when we want to protect our environment.

See more like "EU: Withdrawal and Future Relationship (Votes)"

EU: Withdrawal and Future Relationship (Votes)
Debate between John Bercow and Jeremy Corbyn
Monday 01 April 2019

(9 months, 3 weeks ago)

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Commons Chamber
Department for Exiting the European Union
Mr Speaker Parliament Live - Hansard
1 Apr 2019, 10:07 p.m.

Thank you, Secretary of State.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North) (Lab) - Parliament Live - Hansard

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. It is disappointing that no solution has won a majority this evening, but I remind the House that the Prime Minister’s unacceptable deal has been overwhelmingly rejected three times. The margin of defeat for one of the options tonight was very narrow indeed, and the Prime Minister’s deal has been rejected by very large majorities on three occasions. If it is good enough for the Prime Minister to have three chances at her deal, I suggest that possibly the House should have a chance to consider again the options that we had before us today in a debate on Wednesday, so that the House can succeed where the Prime Minister has failed, in presenting a credible economic relationship with Europe for the future that prevents us from crashing out with no deal.

Mr Speaker Parliament Live - Hansard
1 Apr 2019, 10:08 p.m.

I thank the Leader of the Opposition.

See more like "European Union (Withdrawal) Act"

European Union (Withdrawal) Act
Debate between John Bercow and Jeremy Corbyn
Monday 25 March 2019

(10 months ago)

Read Full debate
Commons Chamber
Cabinet Office
Mr Speaker Hansard
25 Mar 2019, 10:47 p.m.

We are waiting for the result of the Division but, in a cordial spirit, I am sure colleagues across the House will want to congratulate the hon. Member for Strangford (Jim Shannon) on his birthday.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North) (Lab) - Parliament Live - Hansard
25 Mar 2019, 10:49 p.m.

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. I wish to congratulate the House on taking control. The Government’s approach has been an abject failure, and this House must now find a solution. I pay tribute to the right hon. Member for West Dorset (Sir Oliver Letwin), my right hon. Friend the Member for Leeds Central (Hilary Benn) and others who have worked to achieve tonight’s result.

The Government must take this process seriously. We do not know what the House will decide on Wednesday, but I know that there are many Members of this House who have been working on alternative solutions, and we must debate them to find a consensus. This House must also consider whether any deal should be put to the people for a confirmatory vote. Where this Government have failed, this House must—and I believe will—succeed.

Mr Speaker Hansard
25 Mar 2019, 10:49 p.m.

No adjudication by the Chair is required.

See more like "UK’s Withdrawal from the European Union"

UK’s Withdrawal from the European Union
Debate between John Bercow and Jeremy Corbyn
Thursday 14 March 2019

(10 months, 2 weeks ago)

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Commons Chamber
Cabinet Office
Mr Speaker Hansard
14 Mar 2019, 6:04 p.m.

Amendment (j)—J for Jemima—is not moved.

Main question put.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North) (Lab) - Parliament Live - Hansard
14 Mar 2019, 6:20 p.m.

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. After the last few days of Government chaos and some defeats, all of us now have the opportunity and the responsibility to work together to find a solution to the crisis facing this country, where the Government have so dramatically failed to do so. We have begun to hold meetings with Members across the House to find a consensus and a compromise that meets the needs of this country, but the last few days have also put a responsibility on the Prime Minister: first, to publicly accept that both her deal and no deal are simply no longer viable options; and secondly, to bring forward the necessary legislation to amend the exit date of 29 March.

Tonight I reiterate our conviction that a deal, based on our alternative plan, can be agreed and can command support across the House. I also reiterate our support for a public vote, not as political point-scoring but as a realistic option to break the deadlock. [Interruption.] The whole purpose ought to be to protect communities that are stressed and worried about the future of their jobs and their industries. Our job is to try to meet the concerns of the people who sent us here in the first place. [Interruption.]

Mr Speaker Hansard
14 Mar 2019, 6:25 p.m.

Order. Nothing further is required.

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UK’s Withdrawal from the European Union
Debate between John Bercow and Jeremy Corbyn
Wednesday 13 March 2019

(10 months, 2 weeks ago)

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Commons Chamber
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Mr Speaker Hansard
13 Mar 2019, 7:54 p.m.

I thank the Prime Minister for what she has said.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North) (Lab) - Parliament Live - Hansard
13 Mar 2019, 7:56 p.m.

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. Tonight this House has once again definitely ruled out no deal. The Prime Minister said that the choice was between her deal and no deal. In the past 24 hours, Parliament has decisively rejected both her deal and no deal. While an extension of article 50 is now inevitable, responsibility for that extension lies solely and squarely at the Prime Minister’s door. However, extending article 50 without a clear objective is not a solution. Parliament must now take back control of the situation.

In the days that follow, myself, the shadow Brexit Secretary and others will have meetings with Members across the House to find a compromise solution that can command support in the House. That means doing what the Prime Minister failed to do two years ago: searching for a consensus on the way forward. Labour has set out a credible alternative plan. Members across the House are coming forward with proposals. Whether that is a permanent customs union, a public vote, Norway-plus or other ideas, let us as a House of Commons work to find a solution to deal with the crisis facing this country and the deep concerns that many people have for their livelihoods, their lives, their future, their jobs, their communities and their factories. It is up to us as the House of Commons to look for and find a solution to their concerns. That is what we were elected to do.

See more like "European Union (Withdrawal) Act"

European Union (Withdrawal) Act
Debate between John Bercow and Jeremy Corbyn
Tuesday 12 March 2019

(10 months, 2 weeks ago)

Read Full debate
Commons Chamber
Cabinet Office
Mr Speaker Hansard
12 Mar 2019, 3:06 p.m.

Order. The right hon. Gentleman is not currently giving way. [Interruption.] I do not require any affirmation or contradiction from the hon. Member for North Dorset (Simon Hoare). He has got to learn the ways of Parliament.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Parliament Live - Hansard
12 Mar 2019, 3:06 p.m.

Secondly, the motion uses the word “deliberately”. The risk of our being held in the backstop indefinitely has not been reduced; all that has been reduced is the risk that we could be deliberately held in the backstop indefinitely.

The Prime Minister has herself said on numerous occasions that the backstop is painful for both the UK and the European Union, and is something that neither side wishes to see applied. There has been no indication from the Prime Minister that there was ever a risk of our being deliberately held in the backstop in the first place.

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Engagements
Debate between John Bercow and Jeremy Corbyn
Wednesday 27 February 2019

(10 months, 4 weeks ago)

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Commons Chamber
Cabinet Office
Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Hansard
27 Feb 2019, 12:14 p.m.

It clearly is not working, because so many people who are themselves working very hard, some doing two or even three jobs, have to access food banks just to feed their children. The Prime Minister used to talk about the “just about managing.” Well, they are not managing anymore. Income inequality— up. In-work poverty—up. Child poverty—up. Pensioner poverty—up. Homelessness—up. Austerity clearly is not over. People on low incomes are getting poorer, while those at the top are getting richer. The economy is slowing, manufacturing is in recession and this Government’s shambolic handling of Brexit—[Interruption.]

Mr Speaker Hansard
27 Feb 2019, 12:15 p.m.

Order. The right hon. Gentleman will not be shouted down. It is not going to happen. The attempt is foolish and it demeans the House. Stop it. Grow up.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Hansard
27 Feb 2019, 12:16 p.m.

Austerity clearly is not over. People on low incomes are getting poorer, while those at the top get richer. The economy is slowing, manufacturing is in recession and this Government’s shambolic handling of Brexit is compounding years of damaging austerity. Their policies are driving people to food banks and poverty in the fifth richest economy on this planet. Are any of these burning injustices a priority for the Prime Minister?

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Leaving the European Union
Debate between John Bercow and Jeremy Corbyn
Tuesday 26 February 2019

(11 months ago)

Read Full debate
Commons Chamber
Cabinet Office
Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North) (Lab) - Parliament Live - Hansard
26 Feb 2019, 12:49 p.m.

I would like to start by thanking the Prime Minister for an advance copy of her statement.

I have lost count of the number of times the Prime Minister has come to this House to explain a further delay. They say history repeats itself—the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce—but by the umpteenth time it can only be described as grotesquely reckless. This is not dithering; it is a deliberate strategy to run down the clock. The Prime Minister is promising to achieve something she knows is not achievable and is stringing people along, so will she be straight with people? The withdrawal agreement is not being reopened. There is no attempt to get a unilateral exit on the backstop or a time limit.

In Sharm el-Sheikh, the Prime Minister said that

“a delay in this process, doesn’t deliver a decision in parliament, it doesn’t deliver a deal”.

I can only assume she was being self-critical. She has so far promised a vote on her deal in December, January, February and now March, and she only managed to put a vote once—in January, when it was comprehensively defeated. The Prime Minister continues to say that it is her deal or no deal, but this House has decisively rejected her deal and has clearly rejected no deal. It is the Prime Minister’s obstinacy that is blocking a resolution, so if the House confirms that opposition, then what is the Prime Minister’s plan B?

I pay tribute to others across the House who are working on such solutions—whether that is the proposal that is commonly known as Norway-plus or other options. Labour, I would like to inform the House, will back the Costa amendment if tabled tomorrow, and I also confirm that we will back the amendment drafted by the hon. Member for South Leicestershire (Alberto Costa) on securing citizens’ rights for EU citizens here and for UK citizens in Europe, some of whom I met in Spain last week.

The Prime Minister has become quite the expert at kicking the can down the road, but the problem is that the road is running out. The consequences of running down the clock are evident and very real for industry and for people’s jobs. For now, the Prime Minister states that the can can be kicked until 12 March, but the EU cannot now ratify any deal until its leaders summit on 21 March. After all, section 13 of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act states that the final agreement will be laid before this House before it can be voted on, so can the Prime Minister confirm how there can be a vote in this House if the EU has not yet agreed any final exit, or is the Prime Minister now saying that there will be no change to either the withdrawal agreement or to the political declaration, so we will be voting again on the same documents?

Every delay and every bit of badly made fudge just intensifies the uncertainty for industry, with business investment being held back, jobs being lost and yet more jobs being putting at risk. The real life consequences of the Prime Minister’s cynical tactics are being felt across the country, with factories relocating abroad, jobs being lost and investment being cancelled. Thousands of workers at sites across Britain’s towns and cities are hearing rumours and fearing the worst. The responsibility for this lies exclusively with the Prime Minister and her Government’s shambolic handling of Brexit. Even now, with just one month to go before our legally enshrined exit date, the Prime Minister is not clear what she wants in renegotiations that have now dragged on since it became clear in December that her deal was not even backed by much of her own party, let alone Parliament or the country at large.

Labour has a credible plan—[Interruption.] Labour has a credible plan that could bring the country together, provide certainty for people, and safeguard jobs and industry. It is based around a new customs union with the EU to protect our manufacturing industry, close alignment with the single market to protect all of our trading sectors and keeping pace with the best practice on workers’ rights, environmental protections and consumer safeguards. The people of this country deserve nothing less. The Prime Minister talks about giving commitments on future developments, but that is way short of a commitment to dynamic alignments on rights and standards when we know many on her Front Bench see Brexit as an opportunity to rip up those vital protections.

In recent weeks, I have been speaking to businesses, industry organisations and trade unions. Last week, along with our shadow Brexit Secretary, my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Holborn and St Pancras (Keir Starmer), as well as my hon. Friend the Member for Leeds East (Richard Burgon) and Baroness Chakrabarti, I travelled to Europe to meet EU officials and leaders to discuss the crisis and explain Labour’s proposals. We left with no doubt whatsoever that our proposals are workable and could be negotiated, so tomorrow we will—[Interruption.]

Mr Speaker Hansard
26 Feb 2019, 12:56 p.m.

Order. I indicated to the House that the Prime Minister should be fairly and courteously heard, and the same goes for the Leader of the Opposition. If the usual suspects could just calm down, it would be in their interests and, more importantly, those of the House.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Parliament Live - Hansard
26 Feb 2019, 12:56 p.m.

Thank you, Mr Speaker.

Tomorrow, we will ask Parliament to vote on these proposals—they are workable and negotiable—which back the demands of working people all across this country and industry all across this country. I urge Members across this House to back that amendment to respect the result of the 2016 referendum and to safeguard jobs, investment and industry in this country. Labour accepts the result of the 2016 referendum, but we believe in getting the terms of our exit right, and that is why we believe in our alternative plan.

The Prime Minister’s botched deal provides no certainty or guarantees for the future, and was comprehensively rejected by this House. We cannot risk our country’s industry and people’s livelihoods, so if it somehow passes in some form at a later stage, we believe there must be a confirmatory public vote to see if people feel that that is what they voted for. A no-deal outcome would be disastrous, and that is why we committed to backing the amendment, in the names of my right hon. Friend the Member for Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford (Yvette Cooper) and the right hon. Member for West Dorset (Sir Oliver Letwin), to rule out that reckless cliff-edge Brexit.

The Prime Minister appears to be belatedly listening to the House. Any extension is necessary only because of the Prime Minister’s shambolic negotiations and her decision to run down the clock, but until the Prime Minister is clear about what alternative she would put forward in those circumstances, then she is simply continuing to run down the clock. She promises a short extension, but for what? If the Government want a genuine renegotiation, they should do so on the terms that can win a majority in this House and on the terms, backed by businesses and unions, that are contained within Labour’s amendment, which I urge the whole House to back tomorrow.

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Engagements
Debate between John Bercow and Jeremy Corbyn
Wednesday 20 February 2019

(11 months ago)

Read Full debate
Commons Chamber
Cabinet Office
Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North) (Lab) - Hansard
20 Feb 2019, 12:04 p.m.

May I start, Mr Speaker, by joining what you said on Monday in paying tribute to my friend and yours, Paul Flynn? He served in this House for over 30 years as the Member for Newport West. He was courageous, he was warm, he was witty. As the Prime Minister pointed out, he served briefly on the shadow Front Bench. When he came to his first shadow Cabinet meeting, he welcomed my

“diversity project to promote octogenarians”

to the shadow Cabinet. His book on how to become an MP is absolutely a must-read. He was respected all across the House and I think we are all going to miss his contributions, his wit and his wisdom. Our deepest condolences to his wife Sam and all his family, and to his wider family across Newport and Wales. He was a truly wonderful man and a great and dear friend.

I also hope that the House will join me in paying tribute to Baroness Falkender, who died earlier this month, and send our condolences to her friends and family. When Marcia served with distinction as political secretary to Harold Wilson, she was subjected to a long campaign of misogynistic smear and innuendo. She suffered a great deal as a result, and we should remember the great work that she did as political secretary to Harold Wilson.

The Prime Minister just responded to a question on antisemitism. I simply say this: antisemitism has no place whatsoever in any of our political parties, in our life, in our society—[Interruption.]

Mr Speaker Hansard

Mr Ellis, be quiet now and for the rest of the session. You used to practise as a barrister. You did not make those sorts of harrumphing noises in the courts; or if you did, no wonder you no longer practise there.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Hansard
20 Feb 2019, 12:05 p.m.

As I was saying, antisemitism has no place whatsoever in our society or in any of our political parties, and my own political party takes the strongest action to deal with antisemitism wherever it rears its head.

Last week, an EU official said the UK Government were only “pretending to negotiate”, adding that there was

“nothing on the table from the British side,”,

so with just 37 days to go, can the Prime Minister be clear about what she will actually be proposing today when she travels to Brussels?

See more like "UK’s Withdrawal from the EU"

UK’s Withdrawal from the EU
Debate between John Bercow and Jeremy Corbyn
Thursday 14 February 2019

(11 months, 1 week ago)

Read Full debate
Commons Chamber
Department for Exiting the European Union
Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North) (Lab) - Hansard
14 Feb 2019, 4:29 p.m.

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. Tonight’s vote shows that there is no majority for the Prime Minister’s course of action in dealing with Brexit. Yet again, her Government have been defeated. The Government cannot keep on ignoring Parliament or ploughing on towards 29 March without a coherent plan. She cannot keep on just running down the clock and hoping that something will turn up that will save the day and save her face.

It is surprising that the Prime Minister is not even here to hear the result of this vote. I was going to ask her to come to the Dispatch Box now to admit that her strategy has failed and bring forward to the House a coherent plan that can deal with the stresses and anxieties that so many people all over this country are feeling, so that we can make some progress together, bring people together and prevent the catastrophe of a no-deal exit on 29 March. It is surprising that the Prime Minister is not here. Is there some way by which you could encourage her to return to the Dispatch Box and tell us what her plan is?

Mr Speaker Hansard
14 Feb 2019, 4:29 p.m.

It is not obligatory for the Prime Minister to be present on this occasion. Other representatives of the Treasury Bench are here, and if the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union wants to take to the Dispatch Box, it is open to him to do so, but he is not obliged to do so.

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Engagements
Debate between John Bercow and Jeremy Corbyn
Wednesday 30 January 2019

(11 months, 3 weeks ago)

Read Full debate
Commons Chamber
Cabinet Office
Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Parliament Live - Hansard

It really is time that the Prime Minister acknowledges that she has got to move on from the red lines she has put down in the first place, and she does not acknowledge that in answer to my questions or indeed anybody else’s.

Our responsibility is to bring people together, whether they voted—[Interruption.] Mr Speaker, we are the Houses of Parliament; we are the House of Commons; we do represent the entire country; and the point I am making is that we should bring people together, whether they voted to leave or remain. Indeed, I look forward to meeting the Prime Minister to discuss a solution that could in my view unite the country. Changes to the backstop alone will not be sufficient. Businesses and trade unions are very clear that any solution must involve a customs union and the strongest possible deal with the single market to avoid the damage of no deal. The Prime Minister may have possibly temporarily united her party, but is she willing—[Interruption.]

Mr Speaker Hansard
30 Jan 2019, 12:14 p.m.

Order. Mr Ellis, you were at one time a barrister of one rank or another in the courts; there is no way that you would have been allowed to shout from a sedentary position in that way. The judge would have ruled you out of order; I do not know whether that is why you stopped practising law and came into Parliament. Behave yourself young man; you can do so much better when you try.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Parliament Live - Hansard

As I was saying before I was so rudely interrupted—[Interruption]—the Prime Minister may have succeeded in temporarily uniting her very divided party, but is she willing to make the necessary compromises, which are more important, to unite the country going forward to secure jobs and living standards right across the UK?

See more like "European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018"

European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018
Debate between John Bercow and Jeremy Corbyn
Tuesday 29 January 2019

(11 months, 4 weeks ago)

Read Full debate
Commons Chamber
Cabinet Office
Mr Speaker Hansard
29 Jan 2019, 2:43 p.m.

Order. The person who has the Floor chooses whether and, if so, when to give way. That is the situation. It is very clear, and it cannot be contradicted. That is all there is to it.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Parliament Live - Hansard
29 Jan 2019, 2:43 p.m.

What I was saying was—

Break in Debate

Mr Speaker Hansard

Order. The former Foreign Secretary does not seem to be very well versed in the traditions of the House of Commons and debate. [Interruption.] Order. I am telling the right hon. Gentleman what the position is, and he will learn from me. When he seeks to intervene, he waits to hear whether the person on his or her feet is giving way, and the Leader of the Opposition is not giving way. In that case, with the very greatest of respect, it is for the right hon. Gentleman to know his place, which is in his seat.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Parliament Live - Hansard
29 Jan 2019, 2:49 p.m.

Thank you, Mr Speaker. As I was saying, the fault lies exclusively with the Prime Minister, who missed her own deadline to have a deal agreed by October, and she still suffered the worst defeat of any Government in British history.

Break in Debate

Mr Speaker Hansard
29 Jan 2019, 2:51 p.m.

Order. Resume your seat, Mr Fabricant. I know you are trying to help the House and I appreciate that—your public spiritedness is well known throughout the House and across the nation—but the hon. Gentleman referred to a leaflet and the contents thereof. Whatever the merits or demerits of that argument, it is not a matter of order for the Chair. It is a matter of political debate, as your grinning countenance suggests you are well aware.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Hansard
29 Jan 2019, 2:51 p.m.

Thank you, Mr Speaker. I just ask: is the Prime Minister—

Break in Debate

Mr Speaker Hansard
29 Jan 2019, 2:52 p.m.

Order. Resume your seat. [Interruption.] With no disrespect to the hon. Lady, I am not interested in observations. [Interruption.] Order. I am not debating it. I am telling you what the situation is. [Interruption.] It is no good laughing, chuckling away as though it is a matter of great amusement. It is a matter of fact: points of order, yes, observations, no. [Interruption.] No, the hon. Lady has helpfully explained that she had an observation to make. We are very grateful.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Hansard
29 Jan 2019, 2:52 p.m.

Thank you, Mr Speaker.

Break in Debate

Mr Speaker Hansard
29 Jan 2019, 2:54 p.m.

Order. [Interruption.] Calm down. I gave a ruling in relation to the point of order, and “Further to that point of order” does not arise.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Parliament Live - Hansard

Thank you, Mr Speaker. Is the Prime Minister seriously telling this House that we have to wait until 13 February—

Break in Debate

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Parliament Live - Hansard

And put—[Hon. Members: “She’s behind you.”] I can well understand what the Tory MPs are trying to do here. They do not want to hear the debate. They do not want to be part of this debate. They—

Mr Speaker Hansard
29 Jan 2019, 2:55 p.m.

Order. Many people have talked in recent times about the importance of respect in the Chamber. [Interruption.] No, no, no, I do not require any help from the Government Chief Whip. Let me gently say to him that he has a challenging task, which he discharges to the best of his capabilities, and the House and the nation are grateful to him. The idea that he needs to advise the Leader of the Opposition or the Speaker on how to discharge their responsibilities is, frankly, beyond credulity. He has got one job to do. People will make their assessment of whether and how well he does it. Don’t try doing somebody else’s job. With respect, sir, it is way beyond you.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Parliament Live - Hansard
29 Jan 2019, 2:55 p.m.

Thank you, Mr Speaker.

Break in Debate

Mr Speaker Hansard
29 Jan 2019, 2:56 p.m.

The answer is that there is no breach of rules whatsoever. The hon. Lady has made her own point, in her own way, and I acknowledge it. No breach of rules has taken place. Order has been maintained. That is clear to me and to the professional advisers to the Chair as well, and I think the hon. Lady knows it. However, she has made her own point, in her own inimitable way.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Parliament Live - Hansard
29 Jan 2019, 2:56 p.m.

I did take an intervention from the Prime Minister, Mr Speaker. Perhaps the hon. Lady had not noticed that.

Is the Prime Minister seriously telling the House to wait until 13 February and put their faith in her doing negotiations in a couple of weeks that she has failed to do in the past two years? One really wonders how many more ceremonial baubles and promises of ermine will be handed out in vain in an attempt to cajole Conservative MPs to vote for a deal that has been overwhelmingly rejected by this House. The Prime Minister says that a second referendum would be like asking the public to vote again until they give the right answer, but so far that is precisely what she is asking this House to do.

Labour will today back amendments that attempt to rule out this Government’s reckless option of allowing the UK to crash out without a deal. Everyone bar the Prime Minister accepts this would be disastrous. The CBI says:

“The projected impact”—

of no deal

“on the UK economy would be devastating”.

Just yesterday, the Federation of Small Businesses called on Members of this House to block no deal. The TUC, representing millions of workers, is also opposed to no deal, as its general secretary, Frances O’Grady, reiterated to me last week. Every Opposition party in this House is opposed to no deal. Many Conservative Members, even Front-Bench and Cabinet Conservative Members, are opposed to no deal. Let me quote the Chancellor, who said recently:

“I clearly do not believe that making a choice to leave without a deal would be a responsible thing to do”.

So, presumably, he too wants no deal ruled out.

Break in Debate

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Parliament Live - Hansard

I am making progress, Mr Speaker. [Interruption.]

Mr Speaker Hansard
29 Jan 2019, 3:08 p.m.

Order. Is the right hon. Gentleman giving way?

Mr Speaker Hansard
29 Jan 2019, 3:09 p.m.

He is not giving way. [Hon. Members: “Oh!”] Order. The House must behave must behave with decorum. Senior Front-Bench Members, who I know would proclaim their commitment to, and I am sure genuinely believe in, courtesy in the Chamber, are witness to deliberate attempts to shout down the Leader of the Opposition. [Interruption.] Order. It will not happen. [Interruption.] Order. The rules of this House are clear. If the Leader of the Opposition wishes to give way, he does so; if he does not wish to do so, he does not have to do so. He will not be shouted down and no amount of inspired and orchestrated attempts to shout him down will work—not today, not tomorrow, not at any time. Drop it. It is not worth it and, actually, you are not very good at it.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Parliament Live - Hansard

I am making progress, Mr Speaker—

Break in Debate

Mr Speaker Hansard
29 Jan 2019, 3:10 p.m.

I am very grateful to the right hon. Gentleman. I know that he is well-intentioned, but the short answer is no. The timescale for the debate has been set and agreed by the House, and the selection by the Chair has been appropriately made in accordance with the conventions of this House and without demur from colleagues, and it is best that we proceed.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Hansard
29 Jan 2019, 3:10 p.m.

I am coming towards the end of my remarks, because I want to ensure that other Members get a chance to speak in this debate.

Break in Debate

Mr Speaker Hansard
29 Jan 2019, 3:11 p.m.

The answer is very simple. Good order has been preserved; nothing disorderly has taken place. I do not want to be unkind to the hon. Gentleman because I know that he is trying to be an apprentice parliamentary expert, but I am afraid that he has quite a few steps on the ladder still to climb.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Hansard
29 Jan 2019, 3:11 p.m.

The point that I was making is that we could lose 40 to 50 trade agreements that we have through the European Union, which the International Trade Secretary has so far failed to replicate at all, despite the extraordinary and very bold claims that he made at the beginning of this whole Brexit process.

This is a Government in denial, split from top to bottom, and incapable of uniting themselves, let alone the country.

See more like "Engagements"

Engagements
Debate between John Bercow and Jeremy Corbyn
Wednesday 23 January 2019

(12 months ago)

Read Full debate
Commons Chamber
Cabinet Office
Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Parliament Live - Hansard

What the Prime Minister clearly did not have time to mention was the rising levels of in-work poverty, personal debt and the problems that people face in surviving at work. The door of her office might be open, but the minds are closed—[Interruption.] The Prime Minister is clearly not listening—[Interruption.]

Mr Speaker Parliament Live - Hansard
23 Jan 2019, 12:14 p.m.

Order. People making an extraordinary noise from a sedentary position do not have the slightest prospect of being called to ask a question, unless it is on the Order Paper. I hope that they realise that and recognise their own folly.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Parliament Live - Hansard

Thank you, Mr Speaker. Across the country, people are worried about public services, their living standards and rising levels of personal debt. While a third of the Prime Minister’s Government are at the billionaires’ jamboree in Davos, she says she is listening, but rules out changes on the two issues where there might be a majority: against no deal and for a customs union—part of Labour’s sensible Brexit alternative. If the Prime Minister is serious about finding a solution, which of her red lines is she prepared to abandon? Could she name a single one?

See more like "Leaving the EU"

Leaving the EU
Debate between John Bercow and Jeremy Corbyn
Monday 21 January 2019

(1 year ago)

Read Full debate
Commons Chamber
Cabinet Office
Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North) (Lab) - Parliament Live - Hansard
21 Jan 2019, 3:48 p.m.

I thank the Prime Minister for giving me an advance copy of her statement. I join her in condemning the car bomb attack we have seen in Londonderry at the weekend, and I commend the emergency services and local community for their response. The huge achievement of the Good Friday agreement in reducing violence in Northern Ireland must never be taken for granted. It was an historic step forward, and we cannot take it for granted.

The Government still appear not to have come to terms with the scale of the defeat in this House last week. The Prime Minister seems to be going through the motions of accepting the result, but in reality she is in deep denial. The logic of that decisive defeat is that the Prime Minister must change her red lines, because her current deal is undeliverable, so can she be clear and explicit with the House—which of her red lines is she prepared to move on?

The Prime Minister’s invitation to talks has been exposed as a PR sham. Every Opposition party politician came out of those meetings with the same response. Contrary to what the Prime Minister has just said, there was no flexibility and there were no negotiations—nothing has changed. [Interruption.]

Mr Speaker Hansard
21 Jan 2019, 3:50 p.m.

Order. The Prime Minister was heard and, when there was noise, I called for it stop. The same must apply to the Leader of the Opposition. No one in this Chamber will shout the right hon. Gentleman down. They need not bother trying, because they are wasting their breath.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Hansard
21 Jan 2019, 3:50 p.m.

Thank you, Mr Speaker. However, I do welcome the commitment that the fee for EU citizens to apply for settled status will be waived.

The Prime Minister was fond of saying that this is the best possible deal on the table and that it is the only possible deal. However, our EU negotiating partners have been clear, saying that

“unanimously, the European Council have always said that if the United Kingdom chooses to shift its red lines in the future… to go beyond a simple free trade agreement… then the European Union will be immediately ready… to give a favourable response.”

The House voted to hold the referendum and to trigger article 50. There is a clear majority in this House to support a deal in principle and to respect the referendum result, but that requires the Prime Minister to face reality and accept that her deal has been comprehensively defeated. Instead, we now understand that the Prime Minister is going back to Europe to seek concessions on the backstop. What is the difference between legal assurances and concessions? What makes her think that what she tried to renegotiate in December will succeed in January? This really does feel like groundhog day.

The first thing the Prime Minister must do is recognise the clear majority in this House against leaving without a deal. She must rule out no deal and stop the colossal waste of public money planning for that outcome. Questions must also be asked of the Chancellor. He reassured businesses that no deal would be ruled out by the Commons, yet he sanctioned £4.2 billion to be spent on an option that he believes will be ruled out. Last week, the Foreign Secretary said that it was “very unrealistic” to believe that the House of Commons would not find a way to block no deal. Will the Prime Minister meet with her Chancellor and Foreign Secretary to see whether they can convince her to do what is in her power and rule out no deal? If she will not do that now, will she confirm to the House that, if an amendment passes that rules out no deal, she will implement that instruction? The Prime Minister agreed the backstop because of her pledge to the people of Northern Ireland to avoid a hard border, but no deal would mean a hard border in Ireland and would break the Prime Minister’s commitment. Is she seriously willing to accept a hard border?

Today heralds the start of a democratic process whereby this House will debate the amendments that will determine how we navigate Brexit. Of course, the Government tried to block us ever getting to this stage. They wanted no democratic scrutiny whatsoever. Labour has set out a proposal—I believe there may be a majority in this House for this—for a new comprehensive customs union with the EU that would include a say and a strong single market deal that would deliver frictionless trade and ensure no race to the bottom on workers’ rights or any other of the important regulations and protections that we currently have. As we have said consistently from the beginning, we will back amendments that seek to rule out the disaster of no deal and, as we have said, we will not rule out the option of a public vote. No more phoney talks. Parliament will debate and decide, and this time I hope and expect the Government to listen to this House.

See more like "No Confidence in Her Majesty’s Government"

No Confidence in Her Majesty’s Government
Debate between John Bercow and Jeremy Corbyn
Wednesday 16 January 2019

(1 year ago)

Read Full debate
Commons Chamber
Cabinet Office
Mr Speaker Hansard
16 Jan 2019, 1:14 p.m.

The Clerk reminds me that that is not a point of order. My understanding is that there was a pairing opportunity, but the issue was aired in the chamber on Monday and again yesterday. The Leader of the Opposition is absolutely entitled to highlight his concern about the matter, which I know is widely shared, but it should not now be the subject of further points of order. I hope that that satisfies the right hon. Member for Broxtowe (Anna Soubry).

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Parliament Live - Hansard
16 Jan 2019, 1:14 p.m.

Thank you, Mr Speaker.

Nothing demonstrates the sheer incompetence of this Government quite like the Brexit negotiations. Yesterday’s historic and humiliating defeat was the result of two years of chaos and failure. It is clear that this Government are not capable of winning support for their core plan on the most vital issue facing this country. The Prime Minister has lost control and the Government have lost the ability to govern. Within two years, they have managed to turn a deal from what was supposed to be—I remember this very well—

“one of the easiest in human history”

into a national embarrassment. In that time, we have seen the Prime Minister’s demands quickly turn into one humiliating climbdown after another. Brexit Ministers have come, and Brexit ministers have gone, but the shambles has remained unchanged, culminating in an agreement that was described by one former Cabinet Minister as

“the worst of all worlds.”

Let me be clear that the deal that the Prime Minister wanted this Parliament to support would have left the UK in a helpless position, facing a choice between seeking and paying for an extended transition period or being trapped in the backstop. The Prime Minister may claim the backstop would never come into force—[Interruption.]

Mr Speaker Hansard
16 Jan 2019, 1:16 p.m.

Order. There are courtesies in this place. A Member can seek to intervene, but he or she should not do so out of frustration by shrieking an observation across the Floor.

Break in Debate

Mr Speaker Hansard

No, there is no “all right” about it. The person who has the Floor decides whether to take an intervention. That is life. That is the reality. That is the way it has always been.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Parliament Live - Hansard

Who has confidence in this Government’s ability to negotiate a future trade deal with the EU by December 2020 after the shambles that we have all witnessed over the past two years? This Frankenstein deal is now officially dead, and the Prime Minister is trying to blame absolutely everybody else.

Break in Debate

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Hansard
16 Jan 2019, 1:30 p.m.

I thank my hon. Friend for that intervention and for his work representing his constituency. On this side of the House, we are determined to force this Government to accept the reality of the defeat last night and to go to the people so that they can decide whether they want a party in office that promotes inequality, poverty and injustice in Britain, or the Labour alternative, which is bringing people together, however they voted in the referendum.

I know that some Members of this House are sceptical, and members of the public could also be described as sceptical, but I truly believe that a general election would be the best outcome for this country. As the Prime Minister pointed out in her speech yesterday, both the Labour party and the Conservative party stood on manifestos that accepted the result of the referendum . Surely any Government would be strengthened in trying to renegotiate Brexit by being given a fresh mandate from the people to follow their chosen course. I know many people at home will say, “Well, we’ve had two general elections and a referendum in the last four years.” For the people of Scotland, it is two UK-wide elections, one Scottish parliamentary election and two referendums in five years So although Brenda from Bristol may gasp “Not another one”, spare a thought for Bernie from Bute. However, the scale of the crisis means we need a Government with a fresh mandate. A general election can bring people together, focusing on all the issues that unite us—the need to solve the crises in our NHS, our children’s schools and the care of our elderly.

We all have a responsibility to call out abuse, which has become too common, whether it is the abuse that Members of this House receive or the abuse that is—[Interruption.]

Mr Speaker Hansard
16 Jan 2019, 1:31 p.m.

Order. No, Mr David Morris, do not yell from a sedentary position like that. If you seek to intervene, you seek to do so in the usual way—that is the only way to do it. Just because you are angry, it does not justify your behaving in that way. Stop it.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Hansard
16 Jan 2019, 1:32 p.m.

Thank you. Mr Speaker.

Break in Debate

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Parliament Live - Hansard

They are looking to Parliament to deliver for them a better and fairer society—

Mr Speaker Hansard

Is the right hon. Gentleman just pausing?

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Parliament Live - Hansard
16 Jan 2019, 1:34 p.m.

I am pausing because you stood up.

Mr Speaker Hansard

Quite right, absolutely. That is very reasonable and sensible. Thank you. I call Mark Francois, on a point of order.

Break in Debate

Mr Speaker Hansard
16 Jan 2019, 1:35 p.m.

It is commonplace, but it is not, in any sense, obligatory.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Parliament Live - Hansard
16 Jan 2019, 1:35 p.m.

Thank you, Mr Speaker.

If the House backs this motion today, I will welcome the wide-ranging debates we will have about the future of our country and the future of our relationship with the European Union, with all the options on the table. As I said before, a Prime Minister confident of what she describes as “a good deal” and committed, as she claims, to tackling burning injustices should have nothing to fear from such an election. If the House does not back this motion today, it is surely incumbent on all of us to keep all the options on the table, to rule out the disastrous no deal and offer a better solution than the Prime Minister’s deal, which was so roundly defeated yesterday.

This Government cannot govern and cannot command the support of Parliament on the most important issue facing our country. Every previous Prime Minister in this situation would have resigned and called an election. It is the duty of this House to show the lead where the Government have failed, and to pass a motion of no confidence so that the people of this country can decide who their MPs are, who their Government are and who will deal with the crucial issues facing the people of this country. I commend my motion to the House.

Break in Debate

Mr Speaker Parliament Live - Hansard

I call Jeremy Corbyn.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Parliament Live - Hansard
16 Jan 2019, 7:18 p.m.

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. Last night the House rejected the Government’s conclusion of its negotiations with the European Union—[Interruption.]

Mr Speaker Hansard
16 Jan 2019, 7:18 p.m.

Order. I called the Prime Minister on a point of order, and the Prime Minister was heard. She was heard in relative tranquillity, and certainly with courtesy. The same courtesy will be extended to the Leader of the Opposition, and to others who seek to raise points of order. That is the way it is.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Hansard
16 Jan 2019, 7:18 p.m.

Thank you, Mr Speaker.

Last night the House rejected the Government’s deal emphatically. A week ago, the House voted to condemn the idea of a no-deal Brexit. Before there can be any positive discussions about the way forward, the Government must remove, clearly and once and for all, the prospect of the catastrophe of a no-deal Brexit from the EU, and all the chaos that would come as a result of that. I invite the Prime Minister to confirm now that the Government will not countenance a no-deal Brexit from the European Union.

See more like "European Union (Withdrawal) Act"

European Union (Withdrawal) Act
Debate between John Bercow and Jeremy Corbyn
Tuesday 15 January 2019

(1 year ago)

Read Full debate
Commons Chamber
Attorney General
Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North) (Lab) - Parliament Live - Hansard
15 Jan 2019, 6:26 p.m.

This has been a vitally important debate for the future of our country and our future relationship with the European Union, following the decision of the people in the 2016 referendum. The debate today is the culmination of one of the most chaotic and extraordinary parliamentary processes I have ever experienced in my 35 years as a Member of this House. Parliament has held the Government in contempt for the first time ever for failing to publish their legal advice. Then, for the first time in a generation or more, on 10 December the Government failed to move their own business in the House. The Government have been defeated on a vote on their own Finance Bill for the first time since the 1970s.

The Prime Minister opened the debate on her deal more than one month ago. The debate was due to end on 11 December, but she pulled it in a panic. As she conceded, the deal would have been rejected by a significant margin. She has run down the clock in a cynical attempt to strong-arm Members into backing her deal. Despite her promises, she has failed to negotiate any changes to her deal with Europe. No wonder the Prime Minister has suddenly discovered the importance of trade unions. She voted to clip their wings in the Trade Union Act 2016, and she has utterly failed to convince them that she has anything to offer Britain’s workforce. That is the heart of the matter: the Prime Minister has treated Brexit as a matter for the Conservative party, rather than for the good of the country.

But the Prime Minister has failed to win over even her own party. Many Conservative Members who voted remain are opposed to this deal, as are dozens of Conservative Members who voted leave. After losing her majority in the 2017 general election, the Prime Minister could have engaged with Members across the House. She could have listened to the voices of trade unions. If she had been listening, both businesses and trade unions would have told her that they wanted a comprehensive and permanent customs union to secure jobs and trade. The decision to rule out a new customs union with a British say and the lack of certainty in the deal risks business investment being deferred on an even greater scale, threatening jobs and threatening living standards. Even worse, it risks many companies relocating abroad, taking jobs and investment with them. Many workers know exactly that situation, because they face that reality now. Their jobs are at risk, and they know their jobs are at risk.

The First Ministers of Wales and Scotland have made clear to the Prime Minister their support for a customs union to protect jobs and the economy. This deal fails to provide any certainty about future trade. It fails to guarantee our participation in European agencies and initiatives. Losing that co-operation undermines our security, denies our citizens opportunity and damages our industries.

The withdrawal agreement is, in short, a reckless leap in the dark. It takes this country no closer to understanding our post-Brexit future, and neither does the future partnership document. Under this deal, in December 2020 we will be faced with a choice: either pay more and extend the transition period or lock us into the backstop. At that point, the UK would be over a barrel. We would have left the EU, have lost the UK rebate and be forced to pay whatever was demanded. Alternatively, the backstop would come into force—an arrangement for which there is no time limit or end point—locking Britain into a deal from which it cannot leave without the agreement of the EU. As my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Holborn and St Pancras (Keir Starmer) has pointed out on so many occasions, that is unprecedented in British history.

The past two years have given us no confidence that this Government can do a deal in under two years, so at some point before December 2020 the focus would inevitably shift from negotiations on the future relationship to negotiations on an extension to the transition period, including negotiations on what further payments we should make to the European Union. The vague partnership document says that it

“can lead to a spectrum of different outcomes…as well as checks and controls”.

That does not show to me any clarity whatsoever in that document. There is not even any mention of the famed frictionless trade which was promised in the Chequers proposals. The former Brexit Secretary—that is, one of the former Brexit Secretaries—promised a “detailed”, “precise” and “substantive” document. The Government spectacularly failed to deliver it.

I can confirm this: Labour will vote against this deal tonight, and Labour will vote against it because it is a bad deal for this country. As we have heard over the past week, Members in all parties, including many in the Conservative party, will join us in rejecting this botched and damaging deal.

I welcome the fact that there is a clear majority to reject any no-deal outcome. The amendment to the Finance Bill last week demonstrated the will of the House on rejecting the danger—and it is a danger—of a no-deal outcome that would cause such chaos to so many people across this country.

But it is not enough for the House to vote against the deal before us, and against no deal; we also have to be for something. [Hon. Members: “Ah!] So, Mr Speaker—[Interruption.] So in the coming days, it is vital that this House has the opportunity to debate and vote on the way forward, to consider all the options available. The overwhelming majority of the House voted to respect the result of the referendum and therefore voted to trigger article 50. So I say this to our negotiating partners in the European Union: if Parliament votes down this deal, reopening negotiations should not and cannot be ruled out.

We understand why after two frustrating years of negotiations, the European Union might want this resolved, but this Parliament, our Parliament here, has only one duty, to represent the interests of the people of this country—and the deal negotiated by the Government does not meet the needs of the people of this country.

The people of Britain include many EU nationals who have made their lives here. These people have contributed to our country, to our economy and to our public services, including our national health service. They are now anxious, and have no faith in this Government to manage the process of settled status fairly or efficiently, and the early pilots of the scheme are very far from encouraging.

The Prime Minister claimed that this is a good deal, and so confident was she of that that she refused to publish the Government’s legal advice, but her Government’s own economic assessment clearly tells us that it is a bad deal. It is a product of two years of botched negotiations, in which the Government spent more time arguing with themselves, in their own Cabinet, than they did negotiating with the European Union.

It is not only on Brexit that the Government have failed. Under this Government, more people are living in poverty, including—[Interruption.] I am talking about the half a million more children who have fallen into poverty while this Government have been in office. I am also talking of those who have been forced into rough sleeping and homelessness, which have risen every year. Too many people are stuck in low-paid and insecure work. Too many people are struggling to make ends meet and falling deeper and deeper into personal debt on credit cards and from loan sharks. Nothing in this Brexit deal and nothing on offer from this Government will solve that. That is why Labour believes that a general election would be the best outcome for the country, if this deal is rejected tonight.

We need to keep in mind that the vast majority of the people of this country do not think of themselves as remainers or leavers. Whether they voted leave or remain two and a half years ago, they are all concerned about their future, and it is their concerns that the House must be able to answer and meet. I hope that tonight the House votes down this deal and we then move to a general election, so that the people—[Interruption.]

Mr Speaker Hansard

Order. Nobody is going to shout the right hon. Gentleman down, just as nobody will shout the Prime Minister down. All they are doing by causing me to intervene is taking time away. It is not necessary, rather foolish and thoroughly counter-productive.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Parliament Live - Hansard

The people need to be able to take back control, and a general election would give them the opportunity to decide who their MPs were, who their Government were, and who would negotiate on their behalf. It would give a new Government the mandate that is needed to break the deadlock that has been brought to the House by this Government.

I ask this of the House: vote against this deal. We have had a very long and detailed debate. More hon. Members have spoken in this debate than almost any other debate I can remember, and they have given a heartfelt analysis of the deal. A very large number have explained why they will vote against this deal. Quite simply, this deal is bad for our economy, a bad deal for our democracy and a bad deal for this country. I ask the House to do the right thing tonight: reject this deal because of the harm it would do, and show that we as MPs are speaking up for the people we represent, who recognise that the deal is dangerous for this country, bad for them, their living standards and our collective future.

Break in Debate

Mr Speaker Hansard
15 Jan 2019, 7 p.m.

As I explained the sequence earlier, it should now be familiar to colleagues. I begin by inviting the Leader of the Opposition to move amendment (a).

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Hansard

Not moved, Mr Speaker.

Mr Speaker Hansard
15 Jan 2019, 7 p.m.

I turn now to amendment (k), in the name of the right hon. Member for Ross, Skye and Lochaber (Ian Blackford).

Break in Debate

Mr Speaker Hansard
15 Jan 2019, 7:43 p.m.

I will come to other colleagues, but first of all a point of order from the Leader of the Opposition, Jeremy Corbyn.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North) (Lab) - Parliament Live - Hansard
15 Jan 2019, 7:43 p.m.

Further to that point of order, Mr Speaker. The result of tonight’s vote is the greatest defeat for a Government in this House since the 1920s. This is a catastrophic defeat for this Government. After two years of failed negotiations, the House of Commons has delivered its verdict on the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal and that verdict is absolutely decisive.

I hear the words of the Prime Minister, but the actions of her Government over the past two years speak equally clearly. She is only attempting to reach out now to try to keep her failed process and deal alive after it has been so roundly rejected by Parliament on behalf of the people of this country. Labour has laid out its priorities consistently: no deal must be taken off the table; a permanent customs union must be secured; and people’s rights and protections must be guaranteed so they do not fall behind.

At every turn, the Prime Minister has closed the door on dialogue. Businesses begged her to negotiate a comprehensive customs union. Trade union leaders pressed her for the same thing. They were ignored. In the last two years, she has had only one priority: the Conservative party.

The Prime Minister’s governing principle of delay and denial has reached the end of the line. She cannot seriously believe that after two years of failure, she is capable of negotiating a good deal for the people of this country. The most important issue facing us is that the Government have lost the confidence of this House and this country. I therefore inform you, Mr Speaker, that I have now tabled a motion of no confidence in this Government, and I am pleased that that motion will be debated tomorrow so that this House can give its verdict on the sheer incompetence of this Government and pass that motion of no confidence in the Government.

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Oral Answers to Questions
Debate between John Bercow and Jeremy Corbyn
Wednesday 09 January 2019

(1 year ago)

Read Full debate
Commons Chamber
Department for International Development
Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North) (Lab) - Parliament Live - Hansard
9 Jan 2019, 12:07 p.m.

I join the Prime Minister in paying tribute to Paddy Ashdown, who was elected to Parliament at the same time as me in 1983. He was a very assiduous constituency MP and a very effective Member of Parliament, and he and I spent a lot of evenings voting against what the Thatcher Tory Government were doing at that time.

I agree with the Prime Minister on the point that she made about the intimidation of Members of Parliament and representatives of the media outside this building, as happened a few days ago when the right hon. Member for Broxtowe (Anna Soubry) and Owen Jones of The Guardian were intimidated outside this building. I send my support and sympathy to both of them. We also have to be clear that intimidation is wrong outside this building as it is wrong in any other aspect of life in this country, and we have to create a safe space for political debate. [Interruption.] You see what I mean, Mr Speaker; I am calling for a safe space for political debate.

Mr Speaker Hansard
9 Jan 2019, 12:04 p.m.

Order. We have a long way to go. The questions will be heard and the answers will be heard. No amount of heckling or noise will make any difference to that simple fact.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Parliament Live - Hansard
9 Jan 2019, 12:04 p.m.

I am sure that the whole House will join me in wishing a speedy recovery to the two British soldiers who were injured in Syria last week.

The Prime Minister scrapped the Brexit vote last month, and promised that legally binding assurances would be secured at the December EU summit; she failed. She pledged to get these changes over the recess; she failed. Is the Prime Minister not bringing back exactly the same deal that she admitted would be defeated four weeks ago?

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Speaker’s Statement
Debate between John Bercow and Jeremy Corbyn
Wednesday 19 December 2018

(1 year, 1 month ago)

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Commons Chamber
Leader of the House
Mr Speaker Hansard
19 Dec 2018, 3:36 p.m.

As I promised the House, I have looked at the television footage of the Leader of the Opposition reacting to the Prime Minister, allegedly saying “stupid woman” to those seated next to him. Having heard the allegation against the Leader of the Opposition and having watched the footage, it is easy to see why the Leader of the Opposition’s words might be construed as “stupid woman”. That was also the opinion of lipspeakers—and I emphasise, lipspeakers rather than lipreaders—whose advice was sought and obtained at short notice.

As may be known to Members of the House—it is important in terms of establishing the context—but may not be known to others watching or listening to our proceedings, the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition was seated at the time and not addressing the House, so whatever he said was not, and is not, audible on the House’s audio-visual record. As I have told the House, I neither saw the incident nor heard anything. It was, for the same reasons, neither heard nor seen by the Clerks or by my private secretary, nor was there any immediate reaction in the House.

I believe that the allegation made by a number of hon. and right hon. Members was based upon the visual evidence from Parliament TV. I also have to rely purely on visual evidence. I am not a lipreader, or indeed, a lipspeaker. Nobody can be 100% certain. That includes professional lipreaders, but I will naturally take, and would be expected to take, the word of any right hon. or hon. Member. It is reasonable to expect the House to do the same. I therefore invite the right hon. Gentleman, who has at my request returned to the House for this purpose, to make his explanation to the House, which again, I expect to be heard without interruption.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North) (Lab) - Hansard

Thank you, Mr Speaker, and thank you for your invitation to come to make a short point to the House, which I am very happy to do, and I have come immediately to do that. During Prime Minister’s Question Time today, I referred to those who I believe were seeking to turn a debate about the national crisis facing our country into a pantomime as “stupid people”. I did not use the words “stupid woman” about the Prime Minister or anyone else and am completely opposed to the use of sexist or misogynist language in absolutely any form at all. I am happy to place that on the record at your request this afternoon. Thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Speaker Hansard

Thank you.

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Engagements
Debate between John Bercow and Jeremy Corbyn
Wednesday 19 December 2018

(1 year, 1 month ago)

Read Full debate
Commons Chamber
Cabinet Office
Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Hansard
19 Dec 2018, 12:10 p.m.

It is the Prime Minister who is supposed to be undertaking the negotiations. It is the Prime Minister who has failed to bring an acceptable deal back. If she does not like doing it, then step aside and let somebody else do it. The reality is that she is stalling for time—[Interruption.]

Mr Speaker Hansard

Order. I made it clear that the Prime Minister must not be shouted down, and no one should even bother trying to shout down the Leader of the Opposition. It will not work against the Prime Minister, and it will not work against the right hon. Gentleman. End of subject.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Hansard
19 Dec 2018, 12:10 p.m.

The reality is that the Prime Minister is stalling for time. There is still no majority in this House for her shoddy deal. It is not stoical; it is cynical. As the hon. Member for East Surrey (Mr Gyimah) said:

“we have displacement activity designed to distract from last week’s failed renegotiation”.

The International Trade Secretary said:

“I think it is very difficult to support the deal if we don’t get changes to the backstop…I’m not even sure if the cabinet will agree for it to be put to the House of Commons”.

So can the Prime Minister give us a cast-iron guarantee that the vote in this House will not be delayed yet again?

Break in Debate

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Hansard

What the Prime Minister is doing is a criminal waste of money. She is recklessly running down—[Interruption.]

Mr Speaker Hansard
19 Dec 2018, 12:16 p.m.

Order. In this House of Commons, where we are supposed to try to treat each other with respect, no one, under any circumstances, is going to be shouted down, so stop the attempted shouting down, on both sides, abandon the juvenile finger-wagging, which achieves precisely nothing, and let each other be heard. It is called the assertion of democratic principle.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Hansard
19 Dec 2018, 12:16 p.m.

Thank you, Mr Speaker. The Prime Minister is recklessly running down the clock, all in a shameful attempt to make her own bad deal look like the lesser of two evils. With rising crime, 20,000 fewer police on our streets, 100,000 vacancies in our national health service, and the worst performance last month of any November on record, how can the Prime Minister justify wasting that money on no deal, which cannot and will not happen?

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European Council
Debate between John Bercow and Jeremy Corbyn
Monday 17 December 2018

(1 year, 1 month ago)

Read Full debate
Commons Chamber
Cabinet Office
Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North) (Lab) - Parliament Live - Hansard
17 Dec 2018, 3:43 p.m.

I thank the Prime Minister for the advance copy of her statement.

On Ukraine, as NATO has said, we need both sides to show restraint and de-escalate, with international law adhered to, including Russia’s allowing unhindered access to Ukraine’s ports on the sea of Azov.

We face an unprecedented situation: the Prime Minister has led us into a national crisis. If any more evidence was needed of why we face this grave situation, the Prime Minister demonstrated it at last week’s summit. There were some warm words drafted, but the Prime Minister even managed to negotiate those away, to be replaced by words about preparing for no deal. The Prime Minister boasted:

“I had a robust discussion with President Juncker”,

but that cannot hide the cold reality that she achieved nothing. Standing at the Dispatch Box last week, the Prime Minister said,

“I have made some progress”.—[Official Report, 12 December 2018; Vol. 651, c. 274.]

She has not made any progress at all.

She said so herself while still in Brussels.

“The EU is clear, as am I, that this is the deal.”

The European Commission has been categorical. It said:

“It will not be renegotiated. The European Council has given the clarifications that were possible at this stage, so no further meetings with the UK are foreseen.”

The deal is unchanged and it is not going to change. The House must get on with the vote and move on to consider the realistic alternatives. There can be no logical reason for this delay, except that, in taking shambolic government to a new level, the Prime Minister no longer has the backing of her Cabinet. The International Trade Secretary has suggested that the Prime Minister’s deal no longer has the backing of the Cabinet. It is worth quoting his words. He said:

“I think that it is very difficult to support the deal if we don’t get changes to the backstop. I don’t think it will get through. I am not even sure if the Cabinet will agree for it to be put to the House of Commons.”

We have had the spectacle of the past few days with numerous Cabinet members coming forward with their own alternatives. The International Trade Secretary suggested that a two-year transition to a no deal is an option. The Work and Pensions Secretary says that the Government need “to try something different” and build a consensus in Parliament. The Attorney General is reported as saying that he wants her gone and for the deal to be renegotiated, while the International Development Secretary is allegedly liaising with the European Research Group to launch an alternative option. Others are reportedly working on a second referendum, but if even the Cabinet no longer backs the deal, then who knows what the options would be?

Will the Prime Minister give us some answers? First, does her deal still have the confidence of the Cabinet? Secondly, is Cabinet collective responsibility still in operation? Thirdly, does it remain Government policy to avoid a no-deal outcome? An unacceptable deal is on the table. No amendment has been secured. Renegotiations have been rebuffed and not even mere assurances have been offered. The Prime Minister’s shoddy deal no longer even has the backing of the Cabinet.

The Prime Minister ran away from putting her deal before Parliament, because even her own Cabinet has doubts, and she herself admits that Parliament will not back it, so we are left edging ever closer to the 29 March deadline without a deal and without even an agreed plan in Cabinet to get a deal. The Prime Minister has cynically run down the clock, trying to manoeuvre Parliament into a choice between two unacceptable outcomes: her deal or no deal.

The country, workers and businesses are increasingly anxious. Yesterday, the CBI said:

“Uncertainty is throttling firms and threatening jobs—not in the future but right now.”

The British Chambers of Commerce has said:

“There is no time to waste.”

A responsible Prime Minister would, for the good of this country, put this deal before the House this week so that we can move on from this Government’s disastrous negotiations. This is a constitutional crisis and the Prime Minister is its architect. She is leading the most shambolic and chaotic Government in modern British history; even Cabinet no longer functions. We have a Prime Minister whose authority has been lost, a Cabinet disintegrating into cliques and factions, and a Conservative party so fundamentally split that its very existence is being discussed. It is clear that the Prime Minister has failed to renegotiate her deal and failed to get any meaningful reassurances. There is no excuse for any more dither or delay. This Government have already become the first Government in British history to be held in contempt by Parliament. The debate on the meaningful vote was pulled at the last minute. The Prime Minister has now wasted five weeks having achieved nothing—not a single word renegotiated; not a single reassurance gained. This last week has embodied the failure, chaos and indecision at the heart of the Government’s shambolic handling of Brexit. Today, they have been dragged kicking and screaming to announce a date to restart the debate. It is—[Interruption.]

Mr Speaker Hansard
17 Dec 2018, 3:50 p.m.

Order. Mr Ellis, you are a distinguished ornament of a Government Department—a representative of the Executive branch. Be good, man; you can do so much better when you try.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Hansard
17 Dec 2018, 3:50 p.m.

It is disgraceful that a month will have been wasted since we were due to vote on 11 December. There can be no further attempt to dodge the accountability of Government to this Parliament.

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Points of Order
Debate between John Bercow and Jeremy Corbyn
Monday 17 December 2018

(1 year, 1 month ago)

Read Full debate
Commons Chamber
Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North) (Lab) - Parliament Live - Hansard
17 Dec 2018, 5:53 p.m.

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. I have listened very carefully to all the answers that the Prime Minister gave during the lengthy exchange today. I have listened very carefully to what Members on all sides of the House have said and it is very clear that it is very bad—unacceptable—that we should wait almost a month before we have a meaningful vote on a crucial issue that faces this country. The Prime Minister obdurately refused to ensure that a vote took place on the date that she agreed. She refuses to allow a vote to take place this week, and I assume she now thinks that the vote will take place on 14 January—almost a month away. That is not acceptable in any way whatsoever.

As it is the only way I can think of to ensure that a vote takes place this week, I am about to table a motion which says the following: “That this House has no confidence in the Prime Minister due to her failure to allow the House of Commons to have a meaningful vote straightaway on the withdrawal agreement and framework for future relationships between the UK and the European Union.” That motion will be tabled immediately, Mr Speaker. Thank you.

Mr Speaker Hansard

I thank the Leader of the Opposition for what he has said. It requires no response from me, but it is on the record.

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Oral Answers to Questions
Debate between John Bercow and Jeremy Corbyn
Wednesday 12 December 2018

(1 year, 1 month ago)

Read Full debate
Commons Chamber
Cabinet Office
Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Parliament Live - Hansard
12 Dec 2018, 12:08 p.m.

That is totally and utterly unacceptable to this House. This House agreed a programme motion. This House agreed the five days of debate. This House agreed when the vote would take place. The Government unilaterally pulled that and denied the House the chance of a vote on this crucial matter. The Prime Minister and her Government have already been found in contempt of Parliament. Her behaviour today is just contemptuous of this Parliament and this process. Her appalling behaviour needs to be held to account by the House. The people of this country are more and more concerned about the ongoing chaos at the centre of her Government. [Interruption.]

Mr Speaker Hansard
12 Dec 2018, 12:08 p.m.

Order. We must have calm on both sides of the House. [Interruption.] Order. The questions will be heard, however long it takes, and so will the answers. Do not try to shout down. All you do is wear out your voices, and you will not succeed. Amen. End of subject.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Parliament Live - Hansard
12 Dec 2018, 12:09 p.m.

When the Prime Minister made her Lancaster House speech, she set out her negotiating objectives, and they are worth quoting. The first objective is crucial:

“We will provide certainty wherever we can.”

Does this look or feel like certainty? Can she mark her own homework?

Break in Debate

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Parliament Live - Hansard

The time for dithering and delay is over. The Prime Minister has negotiated her deal—[Interruption.]

Mr Speaker Hansard
12 Dec 2018, 12:13 p.m.

Order. The right hon. Gentleman will be heard.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Parliament Live - Hansard
12 Dec 2018, 12:14 p.m.

The time for dithering and delay by this Government is over. The Prime Minister has negotiated her deal. She has told us that it is the best and only deal available. There can be no more excuses, no more running away: put it before Parliament and let us have the vote. Whatever happens with the Prime Minister’s Conservative leadership vote today is utterly irrelevant to the lives of people across our country. It does nothing to solve the Government’s inability to get a deal that works for the whole country. The Prime Minister has already been found to be in contempt of Parliament. Will she now put this deal before Parliament and halt the escalating crisis which is so damaging to the lives of so many people in this country?

See more like "Exiting the European Union: Meaningful Vote"

Exiting the European Union: Meaningful Vote
Debate between John Bercow and Jeremy Corbyn
Tuesday 11 December 2018

(1 year, 1 month ago)

Read Full debate
Commons Chamber
Cabinet Office
Mr Speaker Hansard

Order. I had wanted the hon. Gentleman to complete his intervention. I remind the House that interventions should be brief, not mini speeches, because there is a lot to get through and 32 Members want to contribute after the principal speakers.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Parliament Live - Hansard
11 Dec 2018, 2:10 p.m.

That news is very disturbing indeed. The House should be told first—not the media, not anybody else.

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Exiting the European Union: Meaningful Vote
Debate between John Bercow and Jeremy Corbyn
Monday 10 December 2018

(1 year, 1 month ago)

Read Full debate
Commons Chamber
Mr Speaker Hansard

In a moment, I will call the Leader of the Opposition to make an application for leave to propose a debate on a specific and important matter that should have urgent consideration under the terms of Standing Order No. 24. He has up to three minutes in which to make such an application. I call Mr Jeremy Corbyn.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North) (Lab) - Parliament Live - Hansard
10 Dec 2018, 8:47 p.m.

I wish to apply for an emergency debate on a specific and important matter that should have urgent consideration: the Prime Minister’s unprecedented decision not to proceed with the final two days of debate and the meaningful vote, despite the House’s order of Tuesday 4 December 2018; her failure to allow this House to express its view on the Government’s deal or her proposed negotiating objectives; and her doing so without the agreement of this House.

I recognise that, under Standing Order 24, this should be a specific and important matter, and I will very briefly set out my reasons for this debate. On Tuesday 4 December, the House unanimously agreed a business motion that sets out the rules and timetable governing the meaningful vote debate. The Prime Minister has today unilaterally announced that she will

“defer the vote scheduled for tomorrow, and will not proceed to divide the House at this time.”

That is a quote from her. Neither the Prime Minister nor the Leader of the House has confirmed the date for the conclusion of the debate or the votes. This shows a disregard for Parliament and the rights of the House, as well as of the 164 Members who have spoken in the debate and those who are planning to do so. Once again, the decisions of Parliament are being ignored. It is clear, as the Prime Minister admitted in her statement, that she has decided to avoid a heavy defeat on her deal in the House of Commons tomorrow. Again, Parliament is being given no opportunity to express its view on her negotiation.

As you set out from the Chair, there are two options available to the Government to alter the business. The first and infinitely preferable option is for a Minister to propose moving the Adjournment so that the House has an opportunity to vote on this proposition. The second is that the Government Whips do not move the meaningful vote debate for today. It cannot be right that the Government can unilaterally alter the arrangements once this House has agreed on a timetable without the House being given the opportunity to express its will.

The public will look at the behaviour of this Government and how they treat their democratically elected representatives with despair. Our constitution works on the basis that Governments control the business of the House because they have a majority in the House. The Government appear to be avoiding a vote on a change of business because they fear that they do not command a majority. We have no indication when the debate will be resumed or completed; neither does it seem reasonable that the Government will wait until Thursday before confirming the business of the final sitting week before Christmas. The Government have failed to confirm whether they will bring forward the implementation Bill next week.

Finally, it is vital that the Government treat Parliament with—[Interruption.]

Mr Speaker Parliament Live - Hansard
10 Dec 2018, 8:50 p.m.

Order. Members can shout as much as they like. I will be the judge of when the speech is completed and I will put the application to the House. This is being done at short notice, and it does not serve the interests of the House for Members to shout their heads off from a sedentary position. If they want to do so, so be it, but it will not make the slightest difference to the procedure that we follow.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Hansard
10 Dec 2018, 8:51 p.m.

Thank you, Mr Speaker. I was actually just coming to a conclusion.

The Government’s incompetence cannot be used as an excuse to threaten the country with no deal. It is vital that the Government treat Parliament with respect, honour the terms of the original business of the House motion as agreed and therefore seek the approval of the House, not act by Prime Ministerial fiat, to defer the meaningful vote. I would therefore be grateful, Mr Speaker, if you gave this application your most urgent consideration.

Mr Speaker Hansard
10 Dec 2018, 8:52 p.m.

I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman. I have listened carefully to the application from him. I am satisfied that the matter raised is proper to be discussed —[Interruption]—it is absolutely proper—under Standing Order No. 24. The assumption must be that the right hon. Gentleman is supported by Members, but if Members wish to stand in their place to indicate such, it is up to them to do so.

Application agreed to.

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Engagements
Debate between John Bercow and Jeremy Corbyn
Wednesday 05 December 2018

(1 year, 1 month ago)

Read Full debate
Commons Chamber
Cabinet Office
Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Hansard

The chief economist of the Bank of England describes the last decade as a “lost decade” for wages. [Interruption.] The Prime Minister might laugh at this, but it is the reality of people’s lives; it is the reality—[Interruption.]

Mr Speaker Hansard
5 Dec 2018, 12:12 p.m.

Order. I appeal to Members making too much noise to stop doing so. [Interruption.] Order. I very gently say to the junior Minister on the Back Bench, who is making far too much noise, that he is ordinarily a good-natured and genial chap—I am referring to the hon. Member for Hexham. Mr Opperman, you can do so much better; try to be a well-behaved citizen today. [Interruption.] Well, possibly like some others, but there are quite a lot of badly behaved people. Try to set a better example, Mr Opperman—you are a Minister of the Crown.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Hansard
5 Dec 2018, 12:14 p.m.

Two years ago, a United Nations committee found this Government’s policies towards disabled people represented

“a grave and systematic violation”

of their rights. Does the Prime Minister think that situation has improved in the past two years?

Break in Debate

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Hansard

When I hear a Prime Minister talking about difficult decisions, what always happens afterwards, in these contexts, is that the poorest in our society lose out. Some 4.3 million disabled people are now in poverty; 50,000 were hit by appalling cuts to the employment and support allowance benefit alone last year. This Government labelled disabled people as “scroungers” and called those unable to work “skivers”—[Hon. Members: “Withdraw!”]

Mr Speaker Hansard

Order. Calm—[Interruption.] Order. I do not need any advice from the Home Secretary. He should seek to discharge his own obligations in his office to the best of his ability; I require no advice from the right hon. Gentleman on the discharge of mine. Be clear about that.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Hansard

This Government also created a hostile environment for the Windrush generation. When the UN rapporteur said:

“British compassion for those who are suffering has been replaced by a punitive, mean-spirited, and…callous approach”,

he could not have summed up this contemptible Government any better. Child poverty is rising; homelessness—rising; destitution—rising; household debt—rising. When will the Prime Minister turn her warm words into action, end the benefit freeze, repeal the bedroom tax, scrap the two-child cap and halt the roll-out of universal credit?

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European Union (Withdrawal) Act
Debate between John Bercow and Jeremy Corbyn
Tuesday 04 December 2018

(1 year, 1 month ago)

Read Full debate
Commons Chamber
Cabinet Office
Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Parliament Live - Hansard

Mr Speaker—[Hon. Members: “Give way.”] Mr Speaker, it could have all been so different. Following the 2017 election, the Prime Minister—[Interruption.]

Mr Speaker Hansard
4 Dec 2018, 6:55 p.m.

Order. Calm yourselves. Some of these antics are rather undesirable and to be deprecated. They may have a role on the playing fields at some public school—I do not know—but they have no role in this Chamber. [Interruption.] No, they are just unseemly and inappropriate.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Parliament Live - Hansard
4 Dec 2018, 6:55 p.m.

It could have all been so different. Following the 2017 general election—[Interruption.]

Mr Speaker Hansard
4 Dec 2018, 6:55 p.m.

Order. I am going to say it once, but I will say it as many times as necessary, and colleagues who want to speak will be prevented from doing so by that sort of pathetic self-indulgence. The right hon. Gentleman will give way when he wants to give way. If you don’t like it, frankly, you can lump it.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Parliament Live - Hansard
4 Dec 2018, 6:56 p.m.

Thank you, Mr Speaker. It could have all been so different. Following the 2017 general election, the Prime Minister could have attempted to build a consensus, recognising the new arithmetic of Parliament, and sought a deal that brought people together. Instead, just like her predecessor, who called a referendum without preparing for the eventuality of a leave vote, the Prime Minister has seen these negotiations only as an exercise in the internal management of the Conservative party, and that did not work out very well at all. When the two previous Brexit Secretaries, who, theoretically at least, led the negotiations—well, they did theoretically—say that they cannot support the deal, how can she expect anyone else in this House or in this country to have faith in a deal that has been rejected by two of the people who were involved in the negotiation of it?

Break in Debate

Mr Speaker Hansard
4 Dec 2018, 7 p.m.

Before we proceed, may I say very gently to the House that interventions should be brief, not mini speeches.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Hansard
4 Dec 2018, 7 p.m.

I thank my hon. Friend for her intervention. The Labour party discussed this issue at great length at party conference and agreed that we would oppose this deal. We said that if the Government cannot govern and cannot command a majority of the House, then the great British tradition is that those Governments resign and we have a general election.

Break in Debate

Mr Speaker Hansard
4 Dec 2018, 7:04 p.m.

We are extraordinarily grateful to the hon. Gentleman for his elucidation, but that intervention suffers from one notable disadvantage: it was not even tangential to a point of order. His intervention and points of order are not even nodding acquaintances, in my experience.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Hansard
4 Dec 2018, 7:05 p.m.

It really is not credible for the Government to come to this House with this deal, that does damage a great deal of our economic interests, that does reduce our powers to decide our relationships in the future, and that does damage our trade, and then say there is no alternative. This House will make its decision next Tuesday. I hope and expect this House will reject that deal. At that point, the Government have lost the confidence of the House. They should reflect on that. They have either got to get a better deal from the EU or give way to those who will. No wonder the former Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation, the hon. Member for East Surrey (Mr Gyimah), resigned, saying that this deal will cost us

“our voice, our vote and our veto.”

Break in Debate

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Hansard
4 Dec 2018, 7:28 p.m.

I have been very generous in giving way, particularly to Conservative Members.

As I conclude, I want to pay tribute to my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Holborn and St Pancras (Keir Starmer), the shadow Brexit Secretary, and his team of shadow Ministers. He is now facing his third Brexit Secretary, but he has stayed the course in holding this Government to account. I thank him and his wonderful team, and their supporters, for what they have done, and for the success today in forcing the Government to release the legal advice they were trying to withhold from us.

This is not the deal the country was promised and Parliament cannot—and, I believe, will not—accept it. The false choice between this bad deal and no deal will also be rejected. [Interruption.]

Mr Speaker Hansard
4 Dec 2018, 7:29 p.m.

Order. The Leader of the Opposition is not currently giving way; he is developing his point. [Interruption.] No, he is developing his point. Hon. Members do not need to set themselves up as though they are conducting an orchestra. It is not necessary. Mr Hoare, for example, you are an incorrigible individual. Your assistance in this matter is not required. I am afraid that you are a veteran of Oxford Union badinage and you have never really overcome it.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Hansard
4 Dec 2018, 7:30 p.m.

As I said, this is not the deal the country promised and Parliament cannot, and I believe will not, accept it, and the false choice between a bad deal and no deal will also be rejected.

People around the country are very anxious. Businesses and workers are anxious about the industries they work in, the jobs they hold and this country’s stability.

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G20 Summit
Debate between John Bercow and Jeremy Corbyn
Monday 03 December 2018

(1 year, 1 month ago)

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Commons Chamber
Cabinet Office
Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North) (Lab) - Hansard

I thank the Prime Minister for the advance copy of her statement. This G20 summit met 10 years after the global financial crash, and the 20 nations that control 85% of the world’s GDP have been too slow to reject the failed neoliberal economic model that caused the crisis in the first place, but there are signs of change. On Saturday, I attended the inauguration of a G20 leader, President López Obrador of Mexico, who has won a significant mandate for change to the corruption, environmental degradation and economic failure of the past.

Of course, some G20 countries have no such democratic mechanisms, so while economics are important, our belief in universal human rights and democratic principles must never be subservient to them. The Prime Minister—[Interruption.] The Prime Minister told the media she would—[Interruption.]

Mr Speaker Hansard
3 Dec 2018, 3:43 p.m.

Order. Do be quiet, it is awfully boring and terribly juvenile—[Interruption.] Order. The Prime Minister was heard, and overwhelmingly with courtesy. The same will apply in respect of the Leader of the Opposition. It does not matter how long it takes; I have all the time in the day. That is what will happen. Please try to grasp this rather simple truth.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Parliament Live - Hansard
3 Dec 2018, 3:45 p.m.

Thank you, Mr Speaker. The Prime Minister told the media she would sit down and be robust with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the chief architect of the brutal war in Yemen, which has killed 56,000 people and brought 14 million to the brink of famine. The Crown Prince is believed to have ordered the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. Rather than be robust, as she promised, we learn that she told the dictator, “Please don’t use the weapons we are selling you in the war you’re waging,” and asked him nicely to investigate the murder he allegedly ordered. Leaders should not just offer warms words against human rights atrocities; they should back up their words with action. Germany, the Netherlands, Norway and others have stopped their arms sales to Saudi Arabia. When will the UK do the same?

On Ukraine, as NATO has said, we need both sides to show restraint and to de-escalate the situation, with international law adhered to, including Russia allowing unhindered access to Ukraine’s ports on the sea of Azov.

Britain’s trade policy must be led by clear principles that do not sacrifice human rights. The International Trade Secretary claimed last summer that a trade deal between the UK and the EU would be easiest in human history, but all we have before us is 26 pages of vague aspirations. It seems that neither has he got very far on the 40 trade deals he said he would be ready to sign on the day we leave next year, unless the Prime Minister can update us in her response. In the light of last week’s report from the Foreign Affairs Committee, how does she intend to ensure that the 240 export trade negotiators she promised by Brexit day will be in place, given that the Government have had two years and only 90 are currently in post?

Did the Prime Minister speak again to President Trump at the G20? He seems to have rejected her Brexit agreement because it does not put America first. The International Trade Secretary claimed that bilateral US and UK trade could rise by £40 billion a year by 2030,

“if we’re able to remove the barriers to trade that we have”.

She claims that under her deal we can and will strike ambitious trade deals, but this morning we learned that Britain’s top civil servant in charge of these negotiations wrote to her admitting that there was no legal guarantee of being able to end the backstop.

It is clear, however, that some in the Prime Minister’s Government do want to remove barriers. Just this weekend the Environment Secretary said, with regard to the Brexit deal and workers’ rights, that

“it allows us to diverge and have flexibility”.

Our flexible labour market already means that the UK has the weakest wage growth of all the G20 nations. Did the Prime Minister ask the other leaders how they were faring so much better?

UK capital investment is the second worst in the G20. The previous Chancellor slashed UK corporation tax to the lowest level in the G20, telling us—[Hon. Members: “Hear, hear!”] In doing so, he told us it would boost investment. It did not. Did the Prime Minister ask other G20 leaders why, despite having higher corporation tax, they attracted much higher investment?

Given that the G20 is responsible for 76% of carbon dioxide emissions, I welcome the fact that building a consensus for a fair and sustainable development was a theme of the summit. Why then did her Government vote against Labour’s proposal to include the sustainable development goals as a reference point when the Trade Bill was put before Parliament earlier this year? If present trends continue, many G20 nations will not meet their Paris 2015 commitments, so I am glad that the Government will be pursuing this agenda at next year’s UN climate summit, and I hope that they will also pursue it this week in the talks in Katowice, Poland.

Given that climate change is the biggest issue facing our world, it is imperative that a sustainable economic and trade model be put forward that puts people and planet over profit. Our country has the lowest wage growth in the G20, the lowest investment and poor productivity. Ten years on from the global financial crisis, this Prime Minister and too much of the G20 have simply failed to learn the lessons of that crash.

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Oral Answers to Questions
Debate between John Bercow and Jeremy Corbyn
Wednesday 28 November 2018

(1 year, 1 month ago)

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Commons Chamber
Cabinet Office
Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Hansard
28 Nov 2018, 12:11 p.m.

If it is good, balanced management of the economy, why did Professor Alston say there are 14 million people in our country living in poverty? The Prime Minister claims support for her deal, but last week more than 200 chief executives and entrepreneurs described her Brexit deal as the worst of all worlds—[Interruption.]

Mr Speaker Hansard
28 Nov 2018, 12:11 p.m.

Mr David Morris, calm yourself. Take some sort of soothing medicament if that is what is required, but, above all, calm yourself.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Hansard
28 Nov 2018, 12:14 p.m.

A private email that the CBI sent round says of the deal:

“no need to give credit to negotiators I think, because it’s not a good deal.”

All the Prime Minister can commit to is that we will be working for frictionless trade. She has gone from guaranteeing frictionless trade to offering friction and less trade. After these botched negotiations, the country has no faith in the next stage of even more complex negotiations being concluded in just two years. So what does the Prime Minister think is preferable: extending the transition with further vast payments to the European Union or falling into the backstop with no exit?

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Leaving the EU
Debate between John Bercow and Jeremy Corbyn
Monday 26 November 2018

(1 year, 1 month ago)

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Commons Chamber
Cabinet Office
Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North) (Lab) - Parliament Live - Hansard
26 Nov 2018, 3:44 p.m.

I thank the Prime Minister for the advance copy of her statement.

The Prime Minister may want to try to sell yesterday’s summit as a great success, but, to borrow a phrase, the reality is “nothing has changed”. She says that, if we reject this deal, it will take us back to square one. The truth is that, under this Government, we have never got beyond square one. The botched deal is a bad deal for this country, and all yesterday did was mark the end of this Government’s failed and miserable negotiations.

There can be no doubt that this deal would leave us with the worst of all worlds—no say over future rules and no certainty for the future. Even the Prime Minister’s own Cabinet cannot bring themselves to sell this deal. The Foreign Secretary said yesterday:

“This deal…mitigates most of the negative impacts”.

That is hardly a glowing endorsement. The silence from much of the rest of the Cabinet is telling. They know that these negotiations have failed and they know it will leave Britain worse off. In fact, the National Institute of Economic and Social Research confirmed that today, saying that the Prime Minister’s deal would mean our economy would be 3.9% smaller than it would otherwise be. This is more than our net contribution to the European Union, which is currently £8.9 billion a year—about £170 million per week. So why is the Prime Minister claiming that extra money to the NHS will be due to the Brexit dividend? Of course, we look forward to the official Treasury forecasts, and indeed the legal advice that this House voted to see nearly two weeks ago.

The Prime Minister’s claim that this deal takes back control over our borders, money and laws is, frankly, a fallacy. The reality is the opposite. She says that the political declaration should give us comfort that the Northern Ireland backstop will not be needed. But, in June 2020, this country will be faced with a stark choice: we can agree to extend the transition period, or accept the backstop. So can the Prime Minister confirm that, under her deal, if we are to avoid the backstop, we will have to accept whatever the European Union demands to extend the transition period—leaving a choice of paying more money without a say on the rules, or entering a backstop leading to a regulatory border down the Irish sea? So much for taking back control of our borders, money and laws.

It may not end there. The President of France, President Macron, has already made clear what his priorities will be in negotiating Britain a future deal. On Sunday he said:

“We will concentrate our efforts in order to obtain access to the British waters before the end of the transition period. And of course all of our fishermen will be protected.”

Is it not the case that, under the Prime Minister’s botched deal, we will have to agree to those demands on access to waters and quota shares if we want to finalise a future trade deal or extend the transition—breaking every promise the Prime Minister, the Environment Secretary and the Scotland Secretary have made to our fishing industry and our coastal communities?

There was another climbdown over Gibraltar at the weekend. Is it not the case that Spain now has a role over Gibraltar benefiting from any future relationship? That is still to be negotiated, not something the Prime Minister presented to the Commons last week.

In two weeks’ time, this House will begin voting on a legally binding withdrawal agreement and the vague wish list contained in the political declaration. The Prime Minister would be negotiating that future agreement from a position of profound weakness—threatened with paying more to extend the transition, with no say over our money, laws or borders, and at risk of the utterly unacceptable backstop, which was only made necessary by her own red lines, most of which have since been abandoned by her. Is it in the national interest for the Prime Minister to plough on when it is clear that this deal does not have the support of either side of this House or the country as a whole? Ploughing on is not stoic; it is an act of national self-harm. Instead of threatening this House with a no-deal scenario or a no-Brexit scenario, the Prime Minister now needs to prepare a plan B—something her predecessors failed to do. There is a sensible deal—[Interruption.] There is a sensible deal that could win the support of this House, based—[Interruption.]

Mr Speaker Hansard
26 Nov 2018, 3:49 p.m.

Order. When the Prime Minister was addressing the House, I made it clear that she should be heard, and by and large she was. To those chuntering or yelling from a sedentary position, I say stop it—it is rude, foolish and doomed to fail.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Hansard
26 Nov 2018, 3:54 p.m.

Thank you, Mr Speaker.

There is a sensible deal that could win the support of this House, based on a comprehensive customs union and a strong single market deal that protects rights at work and environmental safeguards.

The Prime Minister may have achieved agreement across 27 Heads of State, but she has lost the support of the country. Many young people and others see opportunities being taken away from them. Many people who voted remain voted for an outward-looking and inclusive society, and they fear this deal and the Prime Minister’s rhetoric in promoting it. Likewise, many people from areas that voted leave feel this deal has betrayed the Brexit they voted for—that it does not take back control, will not make them better off and will not solve the economic deprivation that affects far too many communities, towns and cities across this country. This deal is not a plan for Britain’s future; so, for the good of the nation, the House has very little choice but to reject it.

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Progress on EU Negotiations
Debate between John Bercow and Jeremy Corbyn
Thursday 22 November 2018

(1 year, 2 months ago)

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Commons Chamber
Cabinet Office
Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North) (Lab) - Parliament Live - Hansard
22 Nov 2018, 3:07 p.m.

I thank the Prime Minister for the advance copy of her statement. These 26 pages are a testament to the failure of the Tory’s bungled negotiations: 19 extra pages, but nothing has changed. The only certainty contained within these pages is that the transition period will have to be extended or we will end up with a backstop and no exit. It represents the worst of all worlds: no say over the rules that will continue to apply and no certainty for the future. There is no change to the withdrawal agreement, no unilateral pull-out mechanism, no concessions on the backstop, which would create a new regulatory border down the Irish sea. Did the EU not receive the amendments and improvements promised by the Leader of the House?

A little over a year ago, we were confidently told by the Government that by the end of the article 50 period we would have a trade deal. The International Trade Secretary said it would the “easiest in human history”. Instead, we have 26 pages of waffle. This empty document could have been written two years ago. It is peppered with phrases such as “the parties will look at” and “the parties will explore”. What on earth have the Government been doing for the past two years? They have managed less than one page a month since the referendum.

The Prime Minister said that nothing is agreed until everything is agreed. It is clear from this document that, indeed, nothing is agreed. This is the blindfold Brexit we all feared—a leap in the dark. It falls short of Labour’s six tests. [Interruption.] This Government could have negotiated a new comprehensive customs union, giving certainty to business and securing the manufacturing industry and manufacturing industry jobs. Instead, they are more interested in dog-whistling on immigration. I hope—[Interruption.]

Mr Speaker Hansard

Order. When the Prime Minister delivered her statement, she delivered it to a largely attentive and courteous House. I could not care less what somebody, largely inaudibly and certainly irrelevantly, chunters from a sedentary position. The Prime Minister was heard in courtesy. The right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition will likewise be heard in courtesy. If it requires the process to take a bit longer, so be it. If it requires it to take a lot longer, so be it. If it takes several hours, so be it. So give up, be quiet, behave—on both sides—and let us hear people speak.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Parliament Live - Hansard
22 Nov 2018, 3:11 p.m.

Thank you, Mr Speaker. I hope the Prime Minister will abandon the poisonous and divisive rhetoric about EU nationals jumping the queue. European Union nationals have contributed massively to this country, across all industry and public services, while this Government and this Prime Minister as Home Secretary built a hostile environment for non-EU immigrants.

Chequers has been chucked. There is no common rulebook and no mention of frictionless trade. Our participation is downgraded in a number of European agencies, or we are out of them in their entirety. After more than two years of negotiations, there is no clarity over our status with a range of European-wide agencies—the Erasmus scheme, the Galileo project, Euratom, the European Medicines Agency, the European Chemicals Agency and the European Aviation Safety Agency. On none of these do we know our final status.

Take, for example, section 107 of the document. It says:

“The Parties should consider appropriate arrangements for cooperation on space.”

Well, what a remarkable negotiating achievement that is! After two years, they are going to consider “appropriate arrangements”. This is waffle—the blindfold Brexit of a Government that spent more time arguing with themselves than negotiating for Britain.

On fisheries, the Prime Minister and the Environment Secretary have been saying that Britain will leave the common fisheries policy and become an independent coastal nation, yet this agreement sets an aspiration to establish a new fisheries agreement on access to waters and quota shares by summer 2020. That sounds to me like we are replacing membership of the common fisheries policy with a new common fisheries policy. It is clear—absolutely clear—that during what will now inevitably be an extended transition period, there will be no control of our money, our laws and our borders, or indeed, of fishing stocks for a very long time to come.

The Prime Minister stood on the steps of Downing Street and said that a deal had been agreed between the UK and the European Commission and that it was now up to the EU27. Until this Parliament has debated and voted, there is no UK agreement. This half-baked deal is the product of two years of botched negotiations in which the Prime Minister’s red lines have been torn up, Cabinet resignations have been racked up and Chequers has been chucked. This is a vague menu of options, not a plan for the future and not capable of bringing our country together.

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Engagements
Debate between John Bercow and Jeremy Corbyn
Wednesday 21 November 2018

(1 year, 2 months ago)

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Commons Chamber
Cabinet Office
Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Parliament Live - Hansard

It is the right hon. Lady’s Government who have got us into this shambles. [Interruption.] And she knows full well that the new European Parliament—[Interruption.]

Mr Speaker Hansard
21 Nov 2018, 12:14 p.m.

Order. Nobody in this Chamber will be shouted down. We have often heard it said with high authority from the respective Front Benches that that would be bad behaviour. It is happening now. Stop it, because it will not work.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Hansard

The Prime Minister knows full well that with a new European Parliament in place next summer and a new European Commission at the same time, there will be less than a year for the negotiations on a future trade agreement and for her to achieve what she claims she can.

In February, the Prime Minister said that creating a customs and regulatory border down the Irish sea is something that

“no UK Prime Minister could ever agree to”.—[Official Report, 28 February 2018; Vol. 636, c. 823.]

Can the Prime Minister explain why the backstop agreement would create exactly that border?

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Engagements
Debate between John Bercow and Jeremy Corbyn
Wednesday 14 November 2018

(1 year, 2 months ago)

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Commons Chamber
Cabinet Office
Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North) (Lab) - Hansard

After two years of bungled negotiations, from what we know of the Government’s deal, it is a failure in its own terms. It does not deliver a Brexit for the whole country, it breaches—[Interruption.]

Mr Speaker Hansard
14 Nov 2018, 12:03 p.m.

Order. If necessary, I will say it again and again to Members on both sides of the House: voices must be heard. I happen to know that there are visitors from overseas in the Gallery. Let us try to impress them not merely with our liveliness, but with our courtesy.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Hansard
14 Nov 2018, 12:03 p.m.

The Government’s deal breaches the Prime Minister’s own red lines and does not deliver a strong economic deal that supports jobs and industry, and we know that they have not prepared seriously for no deal. Does the Prime Minister still intend to put a false choice to Parliament between her botched deal and no deal?

Break in Debate

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Parliament Live - Hansard
14 Nov 2018, 12:10 p.m.

Labour respects the result of the referendum. What we do not respect is the shambolic mess the Government have made of negotiations: the mess they created that they cannot now get themselves out of. We will not let them destroy this country’s economy or the jobs and life chances of so many others.

If the Brexit Secretary is still in office by the time the Cabinet meets this afternoon, could the Prime Minister take him to one side and have a quiet word with him? Will she tell him that 10,000 lorries arrive at Dover every day, handling 17% of the country’s entire trade in goods, estimated to be worth £122 billion last year? This woeful ignorance by a person in high office is disturbing to so many people.

This Government spent two years negotiating a bad deal that will leave the country in an indefinite halfway house without a real say, yet they think they can impose a false choice on Parliament between a half-baked deal and no deal, when a sensible alternative plan could bring together—[Interruption.]

Mr Speaker Hansard
14 Nov 2018, 12:11 p.m.

Order. No matter how long it takes, the right hon. Gentleman will not be shouted down in the House of Commons. It is as simple and unarguable as that.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Parliament Live - Hansard
14 Nov 2018, 12:12 p.m.

When a sensible alternative plan could bring together Parliament and the country. Even Conservative MPs say the Prime Minister is offering a choice between the worst of all worlds and a catastrophic series of consequences. When will the Prime Minister recognise that neither of those options is acceptable?

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Oral Answers to Questions
Debate between John Bercow and Jeremy Corbyn
Wednesday 31 October 2018

(1 year, 2 months ago)

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Commons Chamber
Cabinet Office
Mr Speaker Hansard
31 Oct 2018, 12:12 p.m.

Order. It does not matter; I have all the time in the world. It will take as long as it takes. The right hon. Gentleman will address a House that has the manners to listen. The same goes for when the Prime Minister is speaking. There will be a decent display of respect, and we will go on for as long as necessary, as the public would expect, to ensure that that is the way we operate. That is all there is to it.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Hansard

The benefit freeze takes £1.5 billion—[Interruption.] If the right hon. Gentleman will wait a moment, I will explain my question.

Mr Speaker Hansard
31 Oct 2018, 12:12 p.m.

Order. Mr Hands, calm yourself, young man. You are getting a little over-excited. I know that you have already asked a question. You blurted it out to the best of your ability and we are most indebted to you, but now is the time to keep quiet.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Hansard
31 Oct 2018, 12:10 p.m.

The benefit freeze takes £1.5 billion from 10 million low and middle-income households. A low-income couple with children will be £200 worse off. For them, there is no end to austerity. Labour would have ended the benefit freeze. As the Prime Minister well knows, Labour policy is to raise taxes for the top 5% and for the biggest corporations in the country. That would be a fair way of dealing with financial issues facing this country. Will she kindly confirm that there is still another £5 billion of cuts to social security to come in this Parliament—if it lasts until 2022—hitting the incomes of those with the least? Will she confirm that—yes, or no?

Break in Debate

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Hansard
31 Oct 2018, 12:14 p.m.

I am really not very clear whether that was a yes or a no.

The Prime Minister once claimed to be concerned about “burning injustices”—well, that concern has fizzled out, hasn’t it? This was a broken promise Budget. The Prime Minister pledged to end austerity at her party conference, and the Chancellor failed to deliver it in this House. The cuts continue. Those on lower incomes will be worse off as a result of this Budget. Austerity has failed and needs to end now. It is very clear: only Labour can be trusted to end austerity, end the cuts for those on the lowest incomes and invest in our country again. Now we know: councils, schools, police, prisons—[Interruption.]

Mr Speaker Hansard

Order. Members may shout as long and as loudly as they like, and if they feel that they want to indulge themselves doing that, so be it. The right hon. Gentleman’s question will be heard—[Hon. Members: “When it comes.”] Yes, when it comes, but it will be heard in full, so do not waste your breath and damage your voices.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Hansard
31 Oct 2018, 12:16 p.m.

Mr Speaker, I am sure that some Conservative Members will not have heard what I was saying, so I shall repeat it for their benefit. Now we know: councils, schools, police, prisons, public sector workers and people reliant on social security still face years of austerity. Will the Prime Minister apologise for her broken promise that she was going to end austerity, because she has failed to do that?

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October EU Council
Debate between John Bercow and Jeremy Corbyn
Monday 22 October 2018

(1 year, 3 months ago)

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Commons Chamber
Cabinet Office
Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North) (Lab) - Hansard
22 Oct 2018, 3:33 p.m.

I thank the Prime Minister for the advance copy of her statement, and I am pleased she has condemned the horrific murder of Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. But condemnation is not enough; what matters now is what action the Government are prepared to take. Will they now end arms sales to Saudi Arabia?

Moving on to Brexit, I hope our debate today will be conducted without some of the language reported in the press over the weekend. I have to say that every word on Brexit was anticipated: a mixture of failure, denial and delusion. The Conservative party has spent the past two years arguing with itself, instead of negotiating a sensible deal in the public interest. Even at this crucial point, they are still bickering among themselves. The Prime Minister says that 95% of the deal is done, but previously she had told us that

“nothing is agreed until everything is agreed”.

Which is it?

The Government’s Brexit negotiations have been a litany of missed deadlines and shambolic failure, and now they are begging for extra time. They promised that the interim agreement would be done by October 2017 and then by December 2017, but it was finally agreed in March 2018. The Prime Minister even missed the deadline for publishing her own Government’s White Paper on Brexit. She said it would be published by the end of June, but it arrived in mid-July, lacking any clarity on the key issues. Crucially, it arrived after the EU summit at which Britain’s proposals were supposed to have been tabled. And just last week, the Government missed their October deadline for agreeing to the terms of the exit deal with the EU—instead the Prime Minister went to Brussels to beg for an extension. The EU had already offered to convene a special summit in November to help the Prime Minister, but it now seems this has been withdrawn as she will not be ready by then either and so now December is being talked about. And the Prime Minister claims her extension of the transition period will be for only “a matter of months”. Is that three? Is that six? Is that 12? Is that 18? How many months is it? Who knows? Certainly the Prime Minister does not. But can the Prime Minister give one straight answer: what will it cost in extra payments to the EU per month during this extension? The Government are only proposing this extension because of their own incompetence.

We have had two and a half years watching the Tories’ failure to negotiate. Now even the Prime Minister does not have confidence that she can negotiate a deal by December 2020—that is another 14 months. What faith can anyone have that extending that deadline by “a matter of months” will help? Perhaps the Prime Minister can inform the House?

The Prime Minister also begged European leaders to come up with creative solutions. The country voted to leave, her Cabinet members said they would take back control, and now the Prime Minister is pleading with the EU to work out how to do it. It does not sound like taking back control; it sounds like a Government and a Prime Minister who are losing control.

The Government are terminally incompetent, hamstrung by their own divisions. The Prime Minister of Lithuania summed up the situation succinctly when he said:

“We do not know what they want, they do not know themselves what they really want—that is the problem.”

I am sure—[Interruption.]

Mr Speaker Hansard

Order. There was too much noise when the Prime Minister was addressing the House. Mr Opperman, not only are you a distinguished barrister and a Minister of the Crown, but you are a graduate of the University of Buckingham in my constituency. I cannot believe that you were taught to behave in that way—chuntering noisily from a sedentary position—by lecturers in my constituency.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Hansard

I am sure the whole House would love to hear the Government’s precise and detailed blueprint. Perhaps when she returns to the Dispatch Box, the Prime Minister could set out her plan. The whole country is waiting for a plan that works for Britain, not another fudge—kicking the can down the road to keep her party in power.

Much of the current impasse is due to the Northern Ireland border—hardly an issue that can have come as a surprise to the Government. There is a simple solution—a comprehensive customs union with the EU, a solution that would not only benefit Northern Ireland, but help to safeguard skilled jobs in every region and nation of Britain, and with no hard border in Ireland, no hard border down the Irish Sea and good for jobs in every region and nation. That is a deal that could command majority support in this House and the support of businesses and unions. It is Labour’s plan—a comprehensive customs union with a real say for Britain and with no race to the bottom on regulations, standards and rights. The alternative is not no deal: it is a workable plan.

The Government do not even trust their own Back Benchers to have a meaningful vote, with the Brexit Secretary submitting a letter that told us that we must choose between a disastrous no deal and the Government’s deal—a deal that does not yet exist and for which there is now no deadline.

Brexit was supposed to be about taking back control. That is what much of the Cabinet campaigned for, and where have we ended up? Parliament is being denied the chance to take back control and, because of the Government’s vacillation, five years on from the referendum we could still be paying into the EU but with no MEPs, no seat at the Council of Ministers, no Commissioners and no say for this country. Instead of taking back control, they are giving away our say and paying for the privilege. What an utter shambles! Having utterly failed to act in the public interest, will the Prime Minister do so now and make way for a Government that can and will?

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Oral Answers to Questions
Debate between John Bercow and Jeremy Corbyn
Wednesday 17 October 2018

(1 year, 3 months ago)

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Commons Chamber
Cabinet Office
Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Parliament Live - Hansard

My question was that the Prime Minister signed an agreement that had no time limits attached to it. Does she stand by that or not? [Interruption.]

Mr Speaker Hansard

Order. We do not need heckling from either side. It is not in keeping with good order and demonstrations of respect, from whichever side it hails.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Hansard
17 Oct 2018, 12:06 p.m.

It is very strange the way that every week, a Member hides over there, to shout and hurl abuse—[Interruption.]

Mr Speaker Hansard

Order. I know that I say it every week, but I say it again: the questions will be heard and the answers will be heard. That is the situation.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Hansard
17 Oct 2018, 11:55 a.m.

Thank you, Mr Speaker. The car industry is clear that it needs a new customs union to secure investment in British manufacturing. Vauxhall recently said that it would continue to invest, but there are limits and:

“Those limits are customs barriers.”

Jobs are at risk. Why will the Prime Minister not back a customs union—supported not only by Labour and trade unions, but by businesses, and I suspect by a majority in this House—to protect those jobs?

Break in Debate

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Hansard

The British Medical Association said that the NHS is woefully unprepared for this, and this week the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca has suspended investments in Britain due to a lack of clarity over the future.

The Conservative party has spent two years arguing with itself instead of negotiating a deal in the public interest, and now, just days before the deadline, Conservative Members are still bickering among themselves. The Prime Minister and her Government are too weak and too divided to protect people’s jobs, our economy or ensure there is no hard border in Northern Ireland—[Interruption.]

Mr Speaker Hansard

Order. Members are a little overexcited. Just calm down!

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Hansard
17 Oct 2018, 12:10 p.m.

The Prime Minister and her Government are clearly too weak and too divided to protect people’s jobs and our economy or to ensure there is no hard border in Northern Ireland, so she has a choice: she can continue to put the Tory party’s interests first, or she can listen to unions and businesses and put the interests of the people of Britain first. Which is it to be?

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EU Exit Negotiations
Debate between John Bercow and Jeremy Corbyn
Monday 15 October 2018

(1 year, 3 months ago)

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Commons Chamber
Cabinet Office
Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North) (Lab) - Parliament Live - Hansard
15 Oct 2018, 3:40 p.m.

I thank the Prime Minister for an advance copy of her statement.

This really is beginning to feel like groundhog day—another “nothing has changed” moment from this shambles of a Government. Almost two and a half years after the referendum, 18 months since the triggering of article 50 and with less than six months to go, what do we have to show for all that? Yesterday we saw another Brexit Minister shuttling over to Brussels only to come back, tail between his legs, unable to deliver because of divisions in the Conservative party. Over—[Interruption.]

Mr Speaker Hansard
15 Oct 2018, 3:41 p.m.

Order. I appealed earlier for calm and I do so again. I will reiterate what people should know anyway by now: there will be ample opportunity for everybody who wants to ask a question—not to shriek across the Chamber, but to ask a question—to do so. Let us have a bit of hush on both sides of the House.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Hansard

Over the past 18 months, red line after red line has been surrendered. Even the Prime Minister’s much-vaunted Chequers plan now appears to be dead in the water. In fact, after countless resignations and the threat of even more, she could not even bring herself to mention Chequers in her own conference speech. The Prime Minister must stop the excuses. There is a Brexit deal that could command the support of Parliament and the country—a Brexit deal that would benefit Britain and allow us to rebuild our communities, regions and economy, and avoid any hard border in Northern Ireland—but that is not her deal.

As we reach a critical point in this nation’s history, we need a Prime Minister who will for once make the right decision, put the country before her party and stand up to the reckless voices on her Back Benches and within her Cabinet. For too long this country has been held hostage to those in her party who want to drive through a “race to the bottom” Brexit deal that lowers rights and standards, and sells off our national assets to the lowest bidder. It is clear—[Interruption.]

Mr Speaker Hansard
15 Oct 2018, 3:43 p.m.

Order. Mr Heappey, you are normally such a good-natured and laid-back fellow. I do not know what has happened to you. I do not know what you had for breakfast, but tip me off afterwards and I will make sure to avoid it. We need an atmosphere of calm. Nobody in this Chamber—questioner or anybody answering, namely the Prime Minister—will be shouted down, and that is the end of it. It is as simple as that.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Hansard
15 Oct 2018, 3:44 p.m.

It is clear that the Prime Minister’s failure to stand up to the warring factions on her own side have led us to this impasse. Let me remind the Prime Minister and Conservative Members what they signed up to just 10 months ago:

“In the absence of agreed solutions, the United Kingdom will maintain full alignment with those rules of the Internal Market and the Customs Union which, now or in the future, support North-South cooperation, the all-island economy and the protection of the 1998 Agreement.”

Does that still stand? That is an interesting question for the Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister is now hoping that she can cobble together a deal that avoids all the big questions as to what our future partnership with the European Union will be. Is it not the case that the backstop is necessary only because the Government will not agree to a new comprehensive customs union with the EU, with a say for Britain in future trade deals? How long is her envisaged temporary deal? One year? Two years? Five years? More? Britain deserves a bit better than this. The blindfold Brexit that the Government are cooking up is a bridge to nowhere and a dangerous leap in the dark.

Let me be clear that the only thing we can trust this Government to do is to impose more years of austerity on the people of this country. The Prime Minister wants to present Brexit as a choice between her deal and no deal. This is simply not the case. There is an alternative option—an alternative that can command the support of Parliament and the country. Labour has set out our six tests. Indeed, at times the Prime Minister has said that she will meet them. Labour’s plan—[Interruption.]

Mr Speaker Hansard
15 Oct 2018, 3:46 p.m.

Order. An even better-natured fellow, the hon. Member for Colchester—normally the embodiment of charm and good grace—is very overexcited. We will get you in in due course, Mr Quince, do not worry.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Hansard
15 Oct 2018, 3:47 p.m.

Labour’s plan is for Britain and the EU to negotiate a permanent customs union to protect jobs and manufacturing. We want a deal that allows us to strengthen rights and working standards so that we can avoid a race to the bottom, and we want a deal for all regions and nations that allows us to invest in local infrastructure, local transport and energy markets so that we can grow our economy again. Labour will not give the Government a blank cheque to go down the reckless path they are set on at present.

Let me be clear that the choice for this Parliament should never be the Prime Minister’s deal or no deal. If this Government cannot get a good deal for this country, they have to make way for those who can. The Prime Minister faces a simple and inescapable choice: be buffeted this way and that way by the chaos of her own party, or back a deal that can win the support of Parliament and the people of this country.

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Engagements
Debate between John Bercow and Jeremy Corbyn
Wednesday 12 September 2018

(1 year, 4 months ago)

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Commons Chamber
Cabinet Office
Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Hansard

It is Labour that has been speaking up for the poorest in this country. It is Labour that has been challenging this Government. It is Labour that wants a decency within our society that this Government are incapable of delivering. [Interruption.]

Mr Speaker Hansard
12 Sep 2018, 12:12 p.m.

Order. Mr Spencer, I always thought you were a good natured, laid-back farmer. You seem to be a very over-excitable denizen of the House today. Calm yourself, man.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Hansard
12 Sep 2018, 12:12 p.m.

The mental health charity Mind says that there is a real possibility

“that many people with mental health problems could see their benefits stopped entirely”.

It is outrageous that vulnerable people risk losing out because of these botched changes.

The Government’s Brexit negotiations are an abject failure. I can see that by the sullen faces behind the Prime Minister—and that is not just the European Research Group; it is the whole lot of them. But everywhere you look, Mr Speaker, this Government are failing— 1 million families using food banks; 1 million workers on zero-hours contracts; 4 million children in poverty; wages lower today than 10 years ago; and on top of that there is the flawed and failing universal credit. Disabled people at risk of losing their homes and vital support; children forced to use food banks—and the Prime Minister wants to put 2 million more people on to this. The Prime Minister is not challenging the burning injustices in our society. She is pouring petrol on the crisis. When will she stop inflicting misery on the people of this country?

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Oral Answers to Questions
Debate between John Bercow and Jeremy Corbyn
Wednesday 18 July 2018

(1 year, 6 months ago)

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Commons Chamber
Cabinet Office
Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Parliament Live - Hansard
18 Jul 2018, 12:08 p.m.

rose—[Interruption.]

Mr Speaker Hansard

Order. People can rant from a sedentary position for as long as they like. It will not change the way proceedings are conducted in this session. The Prime Minister’s answers will be heard and the questions from the right hon. Gentleman will be heard, and no amount of orchestrated barracking will change that fact this day or any other.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Parliament Live - Hansard
18 Jul 2018, 12:08 p.m.

Thank you, Mr Speaker.

I stated the fact that the Electoral Commission has made that reference. That is what I said. I asked the Prime Minister for a guarantee that her Ministers will co-operate with the police on any investigations that they may make. That is not judgmental—it is a guarantee they will co-operate. These are serious issues. Current Cabinet Ministers were indeed central to the Vote Leave campaign. After two years of dither and delay, the Government have sunk into a mire of chaos and division. The agreement that was supposed to unite the Cabinet led to the Cabinet falling apart within 48 hours, and on Monday the Government U-turned to make their own White Paper proposals unlawful. Given that the proposals in the White Paper are now obsolete, when will the new White Paper be published?

Break in Debate

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Hansard
18 Jul 2018, 12:15 p.m.

The Prime Minister obviously forgot the question that I just asked her, which was about the Brexit Secretary’s support or otherwise for the European convention on human rights. He is on record as saying:

“I don’t support the Human Rights Act and I don’t believe in economic and social rights”.

He is obviously backsliding to keep his job, or that is the new policy of the Government.

With only three months to go until the final withdrawal agreement is due to be signed, the former Brexit Secretary has resigned, the White Paper is in tatters, and the new Brexit Secretary is skipping negotiations. After two years of negotiating with themselves, the Government wanted to shut down Parliament five days early. They have even given up on negotiating with each other. Is it not the case that the Government are failing to negotiate Brexit and failing to meet the needs of the—[Interruption.]

Mr Speaker Hansard
18 Jul 2018, 12:16 p.m.

Order. I know what the attempt is, and it is not going to work. The right hon. Gentleman will complete his question. He will not be shouted down, not today and not any day. Learn it: it is quite simple.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Hansard
18 Jul 2018, 11:55 a.m.

Thank you, Mr Speaker.

Is it not the case that the Government are failing to negotiate Brexit and failing to meet the needs of the country because they are too busy—far too busy—fighting each other?

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Oral Answers to Questions
Debate between John Bercow and Jeremy Corbyn
Wednesday 27 June 2018

(1 year, 6 months ago)

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Commons Chamber
Cabinet Office
Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Hansard
27 Jun 2018, 12:10 p.m.

Well, the Foreign Secretary did not back it either, but in his own way, he was helping the aviation industry: by spending 14 hours in a plane for a 10-minute meeting in Afghanistan.

The Government are not threatening the EU with their ridiculous position; they are threatening skilled jobs in this country. But at least one Government Minister understands this: the Under-Secretary of State for Defence, the hon. Member for Aberconwy (Guto Bebb). He has asked this question, which I think is about the Health and Foreign Secretaries:

“Do the leadership aspirations of multi-millionaires trump the need to listen to the employers and employees of this country?”

Well, apparently they do. The head of BMW, which directly employs more than 8,000 workers—that is 8,000 jobs—in this country, has said that he needs to know the Government’s plans for customs. He says:

“If we don’t get clarity in the next couple of months we have to start making those contingency plans”—[Interruption.]

Mr Speaker Hansard

Order. The Prime Minister was heard. No concerted attempt from either side of this House to shout a Member down will ever succeed. However long it takes, the Prime Minister will be heard and the Leader of the Opposition will be heard. Get the message.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Hansard
27 Jun 2018, 12:10 p.m.

The noise of people hiding behind the Gallery is interesting, Mr Speaker. I am asking the Prime Minister how many more firms are telling her in private what Airbus and BMW are now saying very publicly.

Break in Debate

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Hansard

Coming from a Prime Minister who presides over an economy in which 1 million people are on zero-hours contracts, that is very rich. She rules out a customs union, the Leader of the House rules out the Prime Minister’s preferred option and reality rules out a maximum facilitation model. That leaves only no deal, which she refuses to rule out. She is putting jobs at risk. Sadly, it is not those of the warring egos in her Cabinet—they have now been rewarded with an invite to a pyjama party at Chequers. Meanwhile, thousands of skilled manufacturing jobs and the future of whole industries in Britain are at stake. The Prime Minister continues to promote the fallacy that no deal is better than a bad deal. No deal is a bad deal. Is not the truth that real jobs—[Interruption.]

Mr Speaker Hansard
27 Jun 2018, 12:18 p.m.

Order. I apologise to the right hon. Gentleman. I will say it again: there is unlimited time—[Interruption.] Order. There is unlimited time as far as I am concerned. [Interruption.] Order. The questions will be heard and the answers will be heard, and nothing and no one will stop that happening. It is as simple and unmistakable and clear as that.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Hansard
27 Jun 2018, 12:19 p.m.

Thank you, Mr Speaker.

No deal is a bad deal, but is not the truth that the real risk to jobs in our country is a Prime Minister who is having to negotiate round the clock with her own Cabinet to stop it falling apart rather than negotiating to defend the jobs of workers in this country?

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Engagements
Debate between John Bercow and Jeremy Corbyn
Wednesday 23 May 2018

(1 year, 8 months ago)

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Commons Chamber
Cabinet Office
Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Parliament Live - Hansard

From the party that opposed the NHS in the first place, that is a bit rich. [Interruption.]

Mr Speaker Hansard

Order. There is far too much noise on both sides of the House. I have plenty of time, and I am sure that the principals have as well. We will get through the questions, but preferably in an atmosphere of calm.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Hansard
23 May 2018, 12:14 p.m.

The Royal College of General Practitioners says:

“The long list of failures made by Capita have been incredibly frustrating for GPs and our teams, and we are still dealing with the fallout”.

Public servants are bearing the brunt of private failure. GPs are leaving the profession in despair—4,000 have retired early in the past five years, which is one in 10. In 2015, the Health Secretary said that he would hire another 5,000 GPs. How many more GPs are there than there were in 2015?

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Engagements
Debate between John Bercow and Jeremy Corbyn
Wednesday 16 May 2018

(1 year, 8 months ago)

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Commons Chamber
Cabinet Office
Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Hansard
16 May 2018, 12:14 p.m.

May I congratulate the Prime Minister on record numbers of zero-hours contracts, record numbers of people in in-work poverty, and a record of wages lower today than 10 years ago? May I also congratulate her on formally dividing her Cabinet into rival camps—as if it needed doing—to consider two different models? As a process of parliamentary scrutiny, I hope that both Sub-Committees will report directly to the House so that we can all make up our minds on the rival factions in her Cabinet.

While the Prime Minister’s Government dither, the Dutch Government have now begun training the first batch of extra customs officials to deal with the reintroduction of customs checks for British goods at Dutch borders. In October, the Prime Minister’s official spokesperson said, “HMRC”—[Interruption.]

Mr Speaker Hansard
16 May 2018, 12:15 p.m.

Order. The right hon. Gentleman will complete his question more quickly if Members do not shout—[Interruption.] Order. Mr Colin Clark, I do not require your assistance. You are an amiable enough fellow, but no assistance for the Chair from you is required.

I want to accommodate Back Benchers, and I will do so today, as I always do. I am concerned about people who want to ask questions. If people do not want to ask questions, they must shush and listen, and if they do want to ask questions, they had certainly better keep schtum.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Hansard
16 May 2018, 12:15 p.m.

Thank you, Mr Speaker. It is a very straightforward question. How many additional HMRC staff have been recruited to deal with Brexit?

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Tributes: Baroness Jowell
Debate between John Bercow and Jeremy Corbyn
Monday 14 May 2018

(1 year, 8 months ago)

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Commons Chamber
Cabinet Office
Mr Speaker Hansard

Thank you, Prime Minister. Colleagues, it is typical of our beloved Chaplain, the Rev. Rose, that she joins us for these exchanges. I call the Leader of the Opposition, Jeremy Corbyn.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North) (Lab) - Parliament Live - Hansard
14 May 2018, 3:40 p.m.

Thank you very much, Mr Speaker, and thank you for arranging this half hour of tributes to Tessa Jowell. We are grateful to you for that, and we are grateful to the Prime Minister for what she has just said about Tessa. Right across the House, people were devastated when they heard the news of Tessa’s death. Like the Prime Minister, I send my condolences to her family and friends and to everyone who knew her well. The media coverage yesterday and this morning goes way beyond the coverage of the death of a normal politician. It goes way beyond that because it brings in the way in which she lived her life and the way in which she died.

I knew Tessa for a very long time. She was a warm and compassionate person. Prior to coming to this House in 1992 as the Member for Dulwich and West Norwood, she was a councillor in Camden in the 1970s, which is where I first met her—I in my role as a union organiser and she in her role as a councillor. There is always a basic synergy between the two. She was Labour’s candidate in a by-election in Ilford North in 1978, and many of us trudged along many streets in support of her at that time. Unfortunately, she was not elected then, but she came into the House sometime after that. In Camden, Tessa was instrumental in trying to bring an end to the pay dispute in 1979 by offering us lots of money. When we wanted a national settlement, she offered us a local one. It was very kind of her. It was an attempt to try to support low-paid workers in her constituency in Camden.

In Government, Tessa was absolutely determined to bring about Sure Start, which was one of the great achievements of that Government. The idea was that all children and all families should have a place and be supported in the difficult times that they were going through. Sure Start helped to lift 1 million children out of poverty, and I thank her for that. I also thank her for being an active NHS campaigner in London from the moment she entered this House in 1992. I worked with her on that, and I was very happy to do so.

Tessa’s pivotal moment was helping to win the 2012 Olympics for London, when she persuaded a probably reluctant Prime Minister, an undoubtedly reluctant civil service and a probably reluctant just-about-everybody-else with her amazingly penetrating stare, saying, “Well, you’ve got to do it!” And of course, everyone had to do it and they did. She then showed her skills in diplomacy by putting together a team consisting of Lord Coe, Ken Livingstone and herself to deliver the Olympics for London. I have never forgotten her describing the chances of a British gold medal in taekwondo to a meeting of Labour MPs. I do not think that any of us knew what taekwondo was, but we did not want to admit that to her, so we all said, “Well done, yes, it’s bound to go well.” She actually tried taekwondo, and she was just as formidable at that as she was later in putting her case to the House of Lords. So, well done Tessa on that.

Tessa’s recent speech in the House of Lords was just amazing. We live our lives and enjoy our lives and none of us wants it to end, but she was able to convey to the House and to the world that living your life is also about how you end your life and about the legacy that you leave behind. It was such a brave and selfless speech, and it took so much out of her, but she was determined to do it. Using her platform as a Member of Parliament in the House of Lords to raise awareness of brain cancer was truly amazing: well done her. She will be remembered for her passion, for her sense of social justice, for her sense of inclusion and for her sense of fun in dealing with people. Above all, she will be remembered for the manner of her leaving us. Her children and family are obviously totally devastated, but I think they can also be very proud of the legacy she has left behind. It is wonderful that we now have the Tessa Jowell brain cancer research fund, and I hope that we will all support that so that others do not have to suffer in the awful way that she suffered. She taught us how to live, and I think she also taught us how to die.

Mr Speaker Hansard

I thank the Leader of the Opposition for what he has said and for the way in which he said it. I call Sir Hugo Swire.

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Oral Answers to Questions
Debate between John Bercow and Jeremy Corbyn
Wednesday 25 April 2018

(1 year, 9 months ago)

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Commons Chamber
Cabinet Office
Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Hansard
25 Apr 2018, 12:18 p.m.

We are talking about the environment created by the Prime Minister when she was Home Secretary for six years, when she knew full well of the problems that the Windrush generation were facing, and at last she has been forced to act upon that.

Last week, the current Home Secretary admitted that the Home Office

“sometimes loses sight of the individual.”—[Official Report, 16 April 2018; Vol. 639, c. 28.]

Yet we now know that when she took over from her predecessor, her intent was to harden this cruel and misdirected policy, pledging to do so “ruthlessly”. A report last month by immigration officials stated that “hostile environment” measures were not even having the desired effect. The current Home Secretary inherited a failing policy and made it worse. Is it not time she took responsibility and resigned? [Interruption.]

Mr Speaker Hansard

Order. The House must calm itself. We have a long way to go and a lot of Back Benchers’ questions to reach. Let us hear the Prime Minister.

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Engagements
Debate between John Bercow and Jeremy Corbyn
Wednesday 18 April 2018

(1 year, 9 months ago)

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Commons Chamber
Cabinet Office
Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Hansard

All the evidence—[Interruption.]

Mr Speaker Hansard

Order. I said the Prime Minister must be heard. The Leader of the Opposition must be heard, and he will be.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Hansard
18 Apr 2018, 12:04 p.m.

All the evidence suggests—[Interruption.]

Mr Speaker Hansard

Order. There was a lot of this yesterday—very noisy and extremely stupid barracking. It must stop now. That is the end of the matter. The public absolutely despise that type of behaviour, from wherever in the House it takes place. Cut it out and grow up!

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Hansard
18 Apr 2018, 12:08 p.m.

I remind the Prime Minister that it was her Government who created “a really hostile environment” for immigrants and her Government who introduced the Immigration Act 2014.

We need absolute clarity on the question of the destruction of the landing cards. If she is trying to blame officials, I remind her that in 2004 she said she was

“sick and tired of Government Ministers…who simply blame other people when things go wrong.”

Does she stand by that advice?

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Military Action Overseas: Parliamentary Approval
Debate between John Bercow and Jeremy Corbyn
Tuesday 17 April 2018

(1 year, 9 months ago)

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Commons Chamber
Cabinet Office
Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Hansard

This is a debate about process. [Interruption.] Could the hon. Gentleman contain his aggression for a moment? I made very clear my concerns about the strike, its legitimacy and the legality behind it, so I should have thought it was pretty obvious what my view on it was. That is not to say, as I pointed out last night—[Interruption.]

Mr Speaker Hansard
17 Apr 2018, 1:02 p.m.

Order. The right hon. Member for Rayleigh and Wickford (Mr Francois) made a very fine speech yesterday. He spoke on his feet with considerable passion and integrity, but he should not now rant from a sedentary position. He used to misbehave 30 years ago, when he stood against me in Conservative student politics. We have both grown up since then.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Hansard
17 Apr 2018, 1:03 p.m.

Are we going to get a video of that debate, Mr Speaker?

Currently, the Government of the day, of whichever hue, can, under the powers of the royal prerogative, deploy our armed forces without obtaining parliamentary consent for that action. It is important that our armed forces know that they have the democratic backing of Parliament and the support of the public for any action that they undertake.

Break in Debate

Mr Speaker Hansard
17 Apr 2018, 1:05 p.m.

It is an extremely interesting debating point but, if I put it very politely, as a point of order I am afraid it would be, in old-fashioned O-level terms, an unclassified.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Hansard
17 Apr 2018, 1:05 p.m.

The previous Prime Minister came to the House to seek authority for military action in Libya in 2011 and in Syria in 2015. In 2013, he sought authorisation for military action in Syria that the House denied. I am sorry to say that the Prime Minister’s decision not to recall Parliament and to engage in further military action in Syria last week showed a flagrant disregard for this convention. That was underscored by the Secretary of State for International Development, who said yesterday that

“outsourcing that decision to people who do not have the full picture is, I think, quite wrong. And, the convention that was established, I think is very wrong.”

Break in Debate

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Hansard

It is perfectly clear from what I am proposing that Parliament should have the right to hold Government to account, and that Government should seek prior parliamentary approval before they undertake major military actions. The hon. Lady might not agree with me, but that is the joy of a parliamentary democracy. [Interruption.]

Mr Speaker Hansard
17 Apr 2018, 1:09 p.m.

Order. I do not know what has happened to the hon. Member for North Dorset (Simon Hoare). Decades ago he was a student at the University of Oxford, and my wife always said to me subsequently, “He was a very well-behaved young man.” He seems to have regressed since then. It is very unsatisfactory and he must try to improve his condition. We cannot have people constantly ranting from a sedentary position. Let us be clear that the Leader of the Opposition will be heard, and so will every other speaker.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Hansard
17 Apr 2018, 1:09 p.m.

It should not escaped anyone that the general public want to see an increased role for Parliament in decision-making processes around military action. Talking to people on the streets of this country last weekend, I found that many said, “Why wasn’t Parliament recalled? Why is Parliament not being consulted? We elected people to Parliament to do just that.” We obviously have a diversity of opinion around this Chamber; that is what a democracy throws up, but I believe both that we have a responsibility to hold the Government to account and that the Government have a responsibility to come to this Chamber before they make those major decisions.

Break in Debate

Mr Speaker Hansard
17 Apr 2018, 1:16 p.m.

Order. Mr Shelbrooke, be quiet. I know that you feel strongly, and I respect that, but I am not having you shouting out. You either undertake now to be quiet, or I strongly advise you to leave the Chamber for the rest of the debate. Stop it. You are well-intentioned and principled, but you are over-excitable and you need to contain yourself. If it requires you to take some medicament, then so be it.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Hansard
17 Apr 2018, 1:24 p.m.

I thank my hon. Friend the Member for Bradford East (Imran Hussain) for his intervention. He is quite right: we have to learn the lessons of the past. The Iraq war is seared on the memory of every Member who was in this House at the time, and on the memories of all those millions of people outside this House who expressed the deepest concern about what was going on.

It is for this House to take matters into its own hands and to take back control—as some might put it. I am clear that, as an absolute minimum, Parliament should have enshrined in law the opportunity to ask the following questions before the Government can order planned military action: is it necessary; is it legal; what will it achieve; and what is the long-term strategy? It is difficult to argue that requiring Governments to answer those questions over matters of life and death would be anything other than a positive step. There is no more serious issue than sending our armed forces to war. It is right that Parliament has the power to support, or to stop, the Government taking planned military action.

Break in Debate

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Hansard

I am not quite sure where the hon. Gentleman gets that logic from, because it certainly does not come from anything that I have said. [Interruption.]

Mr Speaker Hansard
17 Apr 2018, 1:18 p.m.

Order. I am sorry to have to keep interrupting. This debate must be conducted in a seemly manner, as a number of Members on both sides of the House suggested yesterday. Members must calm down. It is as simple and incontestable as that.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Hansard
17 Apr 2018, 1:18 p.m.

As I was pointing out, there is no more serious issue than sending armed forces into war and what actions we, as Members of Parliament, could or should take. That is why we are elected to this House. That is what our democratic duty requires us to do.

I therefore hope that this motion will command support—

Break in Debate

Mr Speaker Hansard

No, that is not a point of order. If the hon. Gentleman does not trust his own exegesis of the law that is his problem not mine, but it is not a matter for the Chair. He has made his own point in his own way, but he has done it in a disorderly fashion and he should not repeat the offence.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Hansard
17 Apr 2018, 11:30 a.m.

I am trying to get past the point where I am saying that there are no more serious issues and decisions made by Parliament than on matters of war and peace, and the Government taking planned military action. That convention was established in 2003 and was enshrined in the Cabinet manual in 2011. The then Foreign Secretary gave every indication that he supported the principle of parliamentary scrutiny and approval of such a major step.

I have outlined the caveats in a case of overriding emergency, but it is very important that the House of Commons—one of the oldest Parliaments in the world—holds the Government to account not just on the immediate decision, but on the longer-term strategy and the implications of the actions that are taken. Going to Afghanistan and Iraq, bombing Libya and many others have long-term consequences. We all need to know what thought process has gone into those long-term consequences by the Government and the officials advising them.

Today I have tried to set out a simple democratic demand. It is not taking an opinion, one way or the other, about what the Government did last week. It is asserting the right of Parliament to assert its view over the Government. The Executive must be the servant of Parliament, not the other way around. I therefore hope that this motion will command support from both sides of the House, as we work to bind this Government and any future Government to this basic democratic principle on one of the most serious and crucial issues of foreign policy that we face. I hope that today’s debate will help us in that process of bringing about a change.

Break in Debate

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Hansard
17 Apr 2018, 11:30 a.m.

I am not going to give way anymore because I am about to conclude my speech. [Interruption.] I do not know why hon. Members are cheering the end of my speech, if they want to intervene; there is no logic there, but that is their problem, not mine. [Interruption.]

Mr Speaker Hansard
17 Apr 2018, 11:30 a.m.

Order. I say to Members—

Break in Debate

Mr Speaker Hansard
17 Apr 2018, 11:30 a.m.

Order. Resume your seat, Mr Harper. You do not stand when I am standing and that is the end of it. You have sought to intervene and your attempt has not been accepted. You will now remain seated. The Leader of the Opposition has made it clear that he is bringing his speech to a conclusion. That is his prerogative and he will do so without being subjected to a concerted effort to stop that conclusion. You are a former Government Chief Whip. You know better than that, you can do better than that and you had better try. And I would not argue the toss with the Chair, if I were you.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Hansard
17 Apr 2018, 11:30 a.m.

It is about democracy, it is about accountability and it is about making very serious decisions. That is what MPs are elected to do. It would bind this Government and future Governments to this basic democratic principle on the most serious and crucial issues of public policy that we are ever asked to take a decision on. As I said earlier, all those who were here during the debates on Iraq in 2003 remember them very well, just as they remember very well the questioning from the public about what they did and how they voted. That is why we are elected to Parliament.

I hope that the House will approve this motion on the principle that it is an assertion of the great tradition of the advancement of democratic accountability of this House on behalf of the people of this country.

Break in Debate

Mr Speaker Hansard
17 Apr 2018, 3:52 p.m.

Thank you. The debate will be concluded by the Member who secured it. I call the Leader of the Opposition, Jeremy Corbyn.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Parliament Live - Hansard
17 Apr 2018, 3:53 p.m.

Thank you, Mr Speaker. In the two minutes I have available to me, I just want to say that this is a debate about the rights of Parliament and the role of Parliament.

Many Members have made very good contributions to the debate. I was very impressed by the speech by the hon. Member for North East Somerset (Mr Rees-Mogg), who took us back to 1688. He is right about the Bill of Rights, but I just gently say to him that I think democracy can go forward even from 1688 to a slightly more modern time. He is right that we have an unwritten constitution, which is why I believe that we do indeed need an Act that would require Governments to seek the approval of Parliament before undertaking major military actions or campaigns.

I was fascinated by the speech by the right hon. Member for Newbury (Richard Benyon). I am not quite sure why he brought my mother into the debate, but I am sure she would be very proud to have been mentioned in it. I am grateful to the right hon. Member for Ross, Skye and Lochaber (Ian Blackford) for his support for two principles: first, that Parliament could and should have been recalled last week and was not, and secondly, that Parliament should have the right to decide on major policy issues and be able to hold the Government to account.

The 2011 doctrine laid down what the process should be, and the Government are trying to row back from that doctrine. This is a time for Parliament and democracy to assert itself on the most serious issues we ever face as Members of Parliament: whether to send people into war or not, and what the Government’s strategy is. I invite my colleagues to vote against the substantive motion, to express our dissatisfaction with the Government’s response and assert the rights of Parliament.

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Syria
Debate between John Bercow and Jeremy Corbyn
Monday 16 April 2018

(1 year, 9 months ago)

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Commons Chamber
Cabinet Office
Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North) (Lab) - Parliament Live - Hansard
16 Apr 2018, 4:37 p.m.

I want to start by thanking the Prime Minister for our phone conversation in advance of the bombing raids on Friday night and for the advance copy of her statement today. I also join her in paying tribute to Sergeant Matt Tonroe, the SAS sniper from Manchester who was killed on 28 March with US forces in northern Syria, and Master Sergeant Jonathan Dunbar from Texas, who was killed in the same attack.

I welcome the fact that all British military personnel involved have returned home safely from this mission. The attack in Douma was an horrific attack on civilians using chemical weapons—part of a civil war that has killed hundreds of thousands of people.

This statement serves as a reminder that the Prime Minister is accountable to this Parliament, not to the whims of the US President. We clearly need a war powers Act in this country to transform a now broken convention into a legal obligation. Her predecessor came to this House to seek authority for military action in Libya, and in Syria in 2015, and the House had a vote on Iraq in 2003. There is no more serious issue than the life-and-death matters of military action. It is right that Parliament has the power to support or stop the Government from taking planned military action. The BBC reports that the Prime Minister argued for the bombing to be brought forward to avoid parliamentary scrutiny. Will she today confirm or deny those reports?

I believe the action was legally questionable. On Saturday—[Interruption.]

Mr Speaker Hansard

Order. I urge Members to calm down. In my experience, some Members who shout from a sedentary position also entertain the fanciful idea that they might be called to ask a question. I wish to disabuse them of that idea. The Prime Minister was heard in an atmosphere of respectful quiet. That will happen for the Leader of the Opposition as well: no ifs, no buts, no sneers, no exceptions. That is the position.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Hansard
16 Apr 2018, 4:39 p.m.

Thank you, Mr Speaker. I believe that the action was legally questionable, and on Saturday, the United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres, said as much, reiterating that all countries must act in line with the United Nations charter, which states that action must be in self-defence or be authorised by the United Nations Security Council. The Prime Minister has assured us that the Attorney General had given clear legal advice approving the action. I hope the Prime Minister will now publish this advice in full today.

The summary note references the disputed humanitarian intervention doctrine, but even against this, the Government fail their own tests. The overwhelming humanitarian catastrophe due to the civil war in Syria is absolutely indisputable, but the Foreign Secretary said yesterday that these strikes would have no bearing on the civil war. The Prime Minister has reiterated that today by saying that this is not what these military strikes were about.

Does, for example, the humanitarian crisis in Yemen entitle other countries to arrogate to themselves the right to bomb Saudi airfields or its positions in Yemen, especially given its use of banned cluster bombs and white phosphorus? Three United Nations agencies said in January that Yemen was the worst humanitarian crisis in the world, so will the Prime Minister today commit to ending support to the Saudi bombing campaign and arms sales to Saudi Arabia?

On the mission itself, what assessment have the Government made of the impact of bombing related military facilities, where the regime is assessed as storing chemical weapons? What about the impact on local people of chemicals being released into the local environment? News footage shows both journalists and local people in the rubble without any protective clothing. Why does the Prime Minister believe that these missile strikes will deter future chemical attacks?

As the Prime Minister will be aware, there were US strikes in 2017 in the wake of the use of chemical weapons in Khan Shaykhun, for which the UN OPCW team held the Assad regime to be responsible. In relation to the air strikes against the Barzeh and Him Shinsar facilities, the Prime Minister will be aware that the OPCW carried out inspections on both those facilities in 2017 and concluded that

“the inspection team did not observe any activities inconsistent with obligations”

under the chemical weapons convention. Can the Prime Minister advise the House whether she believes that the OPCW was wrong in that assessment, or does she have separate intelligence that the nature of those activities has changed within the last five months? In the light of the Chilcot inquiry, does she agree with a key recommendation about the importance of strengthening the checks and assessments on intelligence information when it is used to make the case for Government policies? Given that neither the UN nor the OPCW has yet investigated the Douma attack, it is clear that diplomatic and non-military means have not been fully exhausted.

While much suspicion rightly points to the Assad Government, chemical weapons have been used by other groups in the conflict—for example, Jaish al-Islam, which was reported to have used gas in Aleppo in 2016, among other groups. It is now vital that the OPCW inspectors, who arrived in Damascus on Saturday, are allowed to do their work and publish their report into their findings, and report to the United Nations Security Council. They must be allowed to complete their inspections without hindrance, and I hope the UK will put all diplomatic pressure on Russia and Syria, and other influential states, to ensure that they are able to access the site in Douma.

There is a bigger question. More than 400,000 Syrians are estimated to have died in the Syrian conflict—the vast majority as a result of conventional weapons, as the Prime Minister indicated—and the UN estimates that 13.5 million Syrians are in need of humanitarian assistance and that there are more than 5 million refugees. It is more important than ever that we take concrete steps to halt and finally end the suffering. Acting through the UN, she should now take a diplomatic lead to negotiate a pause in this abhorrent conflict. This means engaging with all parties involved, including Iran, Israel, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the US, to ensure an immediate ceasefire.

We have the grotesque spectacle of a wider geopolitical battle being waged by proxy, with the Syrian people being used as pawns by all sides. Our first priority must be the safety and security of the Syrian people, which is best served by de-escalating this conflict so that aid can get in. Will the Prime Minister now embark, therefore, as I hope she will, on a renewed diplomatic effort to try to bring an end to this conflict, as she indicated she would in the latter part of her statement? She stated that diplomatic processes did not work. This is not exactly true. The initiative negotiated by John Kerry and Sergei Lavrov led to the destruction of 600 tonnes of chemical weapons, overseen by the OPCW. No one disputes that such diplomatic processes are difficult and imperfect, but that should not stop us from continuing diplomatic efforts.

The refugee crisis places a responsibility on all countries. Hundreds of unaccompanied children remain in Europe, but the UK has yet to take in even the small numbers it was committed to through the Dubs amendment. I hope that today the Government will increase their commitment to take additional Syrian refugees. Will the Prime Minister make that commitment today?

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Business of the House
Debate between John Bercow and Jeremy Corbyn
Monday 16 April 2018

(1 year, 9 months ago)

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Commons Chamber
Leader of the House
Mr Speaker Hansard
16 Apr 2018, 7:53 p.m.

Well, I am very happy so to be advised. I am grateful to the Leader of the House.

I shall this evening hear two applications for debates under Standing Order No. 24. First, I shall hear the application from the Leader of the Opposition, who has up to three minutes in which to make his application for leave to propose a debate on a specific and important matter that should have urgent consideration under the terms of Standing Order No. 24.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North) (Lab) - Hansard
16 Apr 2018, 7:54 p.m.

I rise to propose that this House should debate Parliament’s rights in relation to the approval of military action by British forces overseas. In the light of Friday’s airstrikes on Syria, this House should urgently debate the important matter of the Government’s obligations under parliamentary convention to seek the approval of the House before committing UK forces to premeditated, hostile military action overseas.

The Cabinet manual, published by the Government in 2011, confirms the Government’s acceptance of that convention and guarantees that the Government will

“observe that convention except when there was an emergency and such action would not be appropriate.”

Two years ago, even while reneging on the Government’s previous commitment to enshrine that convention into law, the then Defence Secretary, the right hon. Member for Sevenoaks (Sir Michael Fallon), guaranteed in this House that the Government would

“keep Parliament informed and…of course seek its approval before deploying British forces in combat roles into a conflict situation.”—[Official Report, 18 April 2016; Vol. 608, c. 630.]

Members on all sides are therefore rightly concerned that no such approval was sought by the Government prior to the air strikes against Syrian Government installations, to which the UK was a party last Friday night, alongside the USA and France. Indeed, this House was not only denied a vote, but did not even have the opportunity to question the Government in advance on the legal and evidential basis for their participation in this action, on their new strategy in regard to Syrian intervention, or on why they acted before the conclusion of the ongoing inspection in Douma by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

Members will also be concerned that these strikes have been explicitly presented, by the Government and by the United States, as a possible precursor to even stronger intervention against the Syrian regime if that is judged to be necessary. Therefore, the Government’s failure to seek—let alone obtain—parliamentary approval for these air strikes sets a precedent for potential and more dangerous future action, not just in Syria but in other countries where similar situations may arise.

I therefore ask, Mr Speaker, that you allow urgent consideration by this House of the Government’s approach when it comes to the rights of Parliament to debate and approve military action overseas.

Mr Speaker Hansard
16 Apr 2018, 7:57 p.m.

The right hon. Gentleman asks leave to propose a debate on a specific and important matter that should have urgent consideration under the terms of Standing Order No. 24—namely, Parliament’s rights in relation to the approval of military action by British forces overseas. I have listened carefully to the application from the right hon. Gentleman. I am satisfied that the matter raised is proper to be discussed under Standing Order No. 24. Has the right hon. Gentleman the leave of the House?

Application agreed to (not fewer than 40 Members standing in support).

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Oral Answers to Questions
Debate between John Bercow and Jeremy Corbyn
Wednesday 21 March 2018

(1 year, 10 months ago)

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Commons Chamber
Northern Ireland Office
Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Hansard
21 Mar 2018, 12:11 p.m.

But the problem is that Northampton- shire has gone bust, and this is caused by the Conservative Government and a Conservative council. It is a model still being used by Barnet Borough Council, which, until very recently, was run by the Conservatives—they lost control of it this week. Capita holds contracts there with an estimated value of £500 million. What has Barnet done? It has cut council staff every year and increased spending on consultants every year. Government cuts mean that councils across England are facing a £5.8 billion funding gap by 2020. So with hindsight, does the Prime Minister really believe it was right to prioritise tax cuts for the super-rich and big business? [Interruption.]

Mr Speaker Hansard
21 Mar 2018, 12:11 p.m.

Order. The House is becoming rather overexcited. I said a moment ago that the Prime Minister’s answer must be heard. The question from the Leader of the Opposition must also be heard, and it will be, however long it takes. [Interruption.] Mr Snell, you are behaving in a most undignified manner—compose yourself, man.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Hansard
21 Mar 2018, 12:12 p.m.

There seemed to be a lot of concern among Conservative Members about my suggestion that the Government had prioritised tax cuts for the super-rich and big business, and put them as more important than funding for social care, libraries, repairing potholes, bin collection or street cleaning.

Break in Debate

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Hansard

Labour councils build houses; Conservative councils privatise—[Interruption.]

Mr Speaker Hansard
21 Mar 2018, 12:15 p.m.

Order. There is a very raucous atmosphere. I have said it before and I will say it again: Back-Bench Members should seek to imitate the zen-like calm of the Father of the House, the right hon. and learned Member for Rushcliffe (Mr Clarke), who is an example to us all.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Hansard
21 Mar 2018, 12:16 p.m.

We all admire zen, Mr Speaker.

Pay more for less is the Conservative message. In Leicestershire, the county council is pushing through £50 million-worth of cuts and council tax increases of 6%. Its deputy leader blamed chronically low Government funding. That is the Tory message: pay more to get less. It is not just households: the average small shop will see its rates bill increase by £3,600. Empty shops suck all the life out of our high streets and local communities, so why is the Prime Minister presiding over a Government who are tearing the heart out of our local high streets?

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Oral Answers to Questions
Debate between John Bercow and Jeremy Corbyn
Wednesday 14 March 2018

(1 year, 10 months ago)

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Commons Chamber
Wales Office
Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Parliament Live - Hansard
14 Mar 2018, 12:10 p.m.

NHS England has abandoned its A&E targets until April 2019, so it is a bit rich for the Prime Minister to be scaremongering about Wales while she is abandoning targets in England—[Interruption.]

Mr Speaker Hansard

Order. There are lots of questions to get through, and they must be heard.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Parliament Live - Hansard
14 Mar 2018, 12:10 p.m.

A recent National Audit Office report states that NHS funding will fall by 0.3% in 2019. People’s lives are at stake. Is the Prime Minister really saying that the A&E doctors are wrong, that the NHS managers are wrong and that the royal colleges and the health unions are wrong, and that it is actually only she who knows best about the NHS?

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Salisbury Incident
Debate between John Bercow and Jeremy Corbyn
Wednesday 14 March 2018

(1 year, 10 months ago)

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Commons Chamber
Cabinet Office
Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North) (Lab) - Hansard

I thank the Prime Minister for advance sight of her statement and echo her words about the service of our emergency and public services.

The attack in Salisbury was an appalling act of violence. Nerve agents are abominable if used in any war. It is utterly reckless to use them in a civilian environment. This attack in Britain has concerned our allies in the European Union, NATO and the UN, and their words of solidarity have strengthened our position diplomatically. Our response as a country must be guided by the rule of law, support for international agreements and respect for human rights. When it comes to the use of chemical weapons on British soil, it is essential that the Government work with the United Nations to strengthen its chemical weapons monitoring system and involve the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

The Prime Minister said on Monday:

“either this was a direct act by the Russian state…or the Russian Government lost control of their potentially catastrophically damaging nerve agent and allowed it to get into the hands of others.”—[Official Report, 12 March 2018; Vol. 637, c. 620-21.]

Our response must be decisive, proportionate and based on clear evidence. If the Government believe that it is still a possibility that Russia negligently lost control of a military-grade nerve agent, what action is being taken through the OPCW with our allies? I welcome the fact that the police are working with the OPCW.

Has the Prime Minister taken the necessary steps under the chemical weapons convention to make a formal request for evidence from the Russian Government under article IX(2)? How has she responded to the Russian Government’s request for a sample of the agent used in the Salisbury attack to run their own tests? Has high-resolution trace analysis been run on a sample of the nerve agent, and has that revealed any evidence as to the location of its production or the identity of its perpetrators?

Can the Prime Minister update the House on what conversations, if any, she has had with the Russian Government? While suspending planned high-level contacts, does she agree that is essential to retain a robust dialogue with Russia, in the interests of our own and wider international security?

With many countries speaking out alongside us, the circumstances demand that we build an international consensus to address the use of chemical weapons. We should urge our international allies to join us in calling on Russia to reveal without delay full details of its chemical weapons programme to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. It is, as we on the Labour Benches have expressed before, a matter of huge regret that our country’s diplomatic capacity has been stripped back, with cuts of 25% in the last five years. It is—[Interruption.]

Mr Speaker Hansard
14 Mar 2018, 12:53 p.m.

Order. The right hon. Gentleman must be heard. There will be adequate opportunity for colleagues on both sides of the House to put questions. Members must be heard.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Hansard
14 Mar 2018, 12:57 p.m.

I could not understand a word of what the Foreign Secretary just said, but his behaviour demeans his office.

It is in moments such as these that Governments realise how vital strong diplomacy and political pressure are for our security and national interest. The measures we take have to be effective, not just for the long-term security of our citizens but to secure a world free of chemical weapons. Can the Prime Minister outline what discussions she has had with our partners in the European Union, NATO and the UN and what willingness there was to take multilateral action? While the poisonings of Sergei and Yulia Skripal are confronting us today, what efforts are being made by the Government to reassess the death of Mr Skripal’s wife, Liudmila, who died in 2012, and the deaths of his elder brother and son in the past two years?

We have a duty to speak out against the abuse of human rights by the Putin Government and their supporters, both at home and abroad, and I join many others in this House in paying tribute to the many campaigners in Russia for human rights, justice and democracy in that country. We must do more to address the dangers posed by the state’s relationship with unofficial mafia-like groups and corrupt oligarchs. We must also expose the flows of ill-gotten cash between the Russian state and billionaires who become stupendously rich by looting their country and subsequently use London to protect their wealth. We welcome the Prime Minister today clearly committing to support the Magnitsky amendments and implementing them as soon as possible, as Labour has long pushed for.

Yesterday, Nikolai Glushkov, a Russian exile who was close friends with the late oligarch Boris Berezovsky, was found dead in his London home. What reassurances can the Prime Minister give to citizens of Russian origin living in Britain that they are safe here?

The events in Salisbury earlier this month are abominable and have been rightly condemned across the House. Britain has to build a consensus with our allies, and we support the Prime Minister in taking multilateral and firm action to ensure that we strengthen the chemical weapons convention and that this dreadful, appalling act, which we totally condemn, never happens again in our country.

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Salisbury Incident
Debate between John Bercow and Jeremy Corbyn
Monday 12 March 2018

(1 year, 10 months ago)

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Commons Chamber
Cabinet Office
Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North) (Lab) - Parliament Live - Hansard
12 Mar 2018, 5:13 p.m.

I thank the Prime Minister for an advance copy of her statement on this deeply alarming attack, which raises very serious questions. The whole House condemns the suspected poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury and, of course, we wish them a return to good health. I am sure that the whole House will join me in wishing Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey a speedy recovery as well. No member of our police force and nobody on the streets of Britain should ever face such an attack—let alone one with chemical weapons.

I thank the Prime Minister for updating the House. The investigation into the shocking events in Salisbury must reach its conclusions. We need to see both the evidence and a full account from the Russian authorities in the light of the emerging evidence to which the Prime Minister referred. For now, can the Prime Minister clarify what level of threat it was believed that Mr Skripal faced at the time of the attack and what security protection, if any, was deemed necessary for him and his daughter?

This morning, the Conservative Chair of the Select Committee on Foreign Affairs said that he would be “surprised” if the Prime Minister

“did not point the finger at the Kremlin”.

The hon. Member for Tonbridge and Malling (Tom Tugendhat) also accused the Russian Government of behaving “aggressively” and in “a corrupting way” in this country.

We need to continue seeking a robust dialogue with Russia on all the issues—both domestic and international —currently dividing our countries, rather than simply cutting off contact and letting the tensions and divisions get worse and, potentially, even more dangerous.

We are all familiar with the way in which huge fortunes, often acquired in the most dubious circumstances in Russia and sometimes connected with criminal elements, have ended up sheltering in London and trying to buy political influence in British party politics—“meddling in elections”, as the Prime Minister put it. There have been more than £800,000 of donations to the Conservative party from Russian oligarchs and their associates. If that is the evidence before the Government, they could be taking action to introduce new financial sanctions powers even before the investigation into Salisbury is complete. But instead they are currently resisting Labour’s amendments to the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Bill that could introduce the so-called Magnitsky powers. Will the Prime Minister agree today to back those amendments? More specifically—[Interruption.]

Mr Speaker Hansard
12 Mar 2018, 2:30 p.m.

Order. There can be strongly held opinions and inflamed passions, but I appeal to colleagues, whose sincerity and integrity I do not doubt, to remember that we hear views. Other colleagues will be heard, but the right hon. Gentleman must be heard now.

Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn - Hansard
12 Mar 2018, 5:17 p.m.

Thank you, Mr Speaker.

More specifically, when it comes to the Salisbury attack, what actions are the local police taking to identify fellow diners at the Zizzi restaurant and the Mill pub in Salisbury on the day in question and to ensure that they come forward and are checked? What extra resources are being provided to the local police force, which quite understandably has never had to deal with such an incident before?

We know that the national health service is under incredible pressures across the country, but what extra resources have been provided to the NHS hospitals in and around Salisbury, and what training has been given to NHS staff and GPs in identifying the symptoms of a nerve agent attack?

The events in Salisbury on 4 March have appalled the country and need thorough investigation. The local community and public services involved need reassurance and the necessary resources. The action that the Government take once the facts are clear needs to be both decisive and proportionate, and focused on reducing conflict and tensions, rather than increasing them.

I join the Prime Minister in paying tribute to the magnificent work of our public services responding to this attack: the NHS staff, the police and security services, the armed forces and the analysts at Porton Down. Let us do everything we can to ensure that this never ever happens again.

See more like "UK/EU Future Economic Partnership"

UK/EU Future Economic Partnership
Debate between John Bercow and Jeremy Corbyn
Monday 05 March 2018

(1 year, 10 months ago)

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Commons Chamber
Cabinet Office
Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North) (Lab) - Hansard

I thank the Prime Minister for the advance copy of the statement. Twenty months have passed since the referendum, and a year has passed since article 50 was triggered—20 wasted months in which the arrogance of some in the Cabinet, who said that it would be the easiest deal in history, has turned into debilitating in-fighting. We have seen set-piece speech after set-piece speech, yet the Prime Minister still cannot bring clarity to the negotiations or certainty to British businesses or workers.

The Prime Minister’s speech on Friday promised to unite the nation, yet it barely papered over the cracks in her own party. Even her own Minister for the Cabinet Office said that it was only “an ambitious opening bid”, so who knows where we will end up? The European Union published a detailed legal document last Wednesday; despite the criticisms rightly made from across the House, where is anything comparable in detail and focus from the UK Government? The reality is that the speech failed to deliver any clear and credible solution to the problems we face. This Government’s shambolic approach to Brexit risks taking us down a dangerous road. This Government’s reckless strategy is putting our jobs and manufacturing industries at risk.

The Prime Minister’s only clear priority seems to be to tie the UK permanently to EU rules that have been used to enforce privatisation and block support for industry. [Interruption.] The Prime Minister now seems to be saying that we will lose some access to European markets and that Britain will be worse off. [Interruption.]

Mr Speaker Hansard
5 Mar 2018, 3:50 p.m.

Order. I said that the Prime Minister must not be subjected to orchestrated heckling and attempts to shout her down. The same goes for the Leader of the Opposition. Let me give notice now to some of the people who are shouting loudly: if you want to persist in that behaviour, do not be surprised if you do not catch my eye in the questioning. If you want to be called, behave; if you wish to persist with misbehaviour, frankly, you might as well leave the Chamber now.