“We’re ready to unleash the biggest people-powered campaign we’ve ever seen” – Corbyn’s TUC speech

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Congress, thank you for that warm welcome. It’s an honour to be asked to address you again. I’m proud that trade unions and the Labour Party are working as closely together now as we ever have. Because together we are one movement – the labour movement, the greatest force for progressive change this country has ever known.

So thank you to every single one of you for what you do, for your members and for our society. And thank you to Frances O’Grady for your work as the TUC’s General Secretary. You are a brilliant voice in standing up for workers.

I want to pay special thanks too to TUC President Mark Serwotka. Mark, you are one of the most dedicated and one of the bravest trade union leaders we’ve ever had and you’re a walking advertisement for our wonderful NHS.

Your union, PCS, is doing brilliant work representing workers at the BEIS Department in Whitehall, some of whom were here yesterday, and who have been on strike for two months now, because the Government won’t pay them the living wage. Solidarity to them. I also want to send solidarity to the occupying workers at Harland & Wolff, some of whom have joined us here today.

Congress, this time last week the Conservatives and DUP had a majority of one in the House of Commons. Last time I checked their majority was down to -45.

Today Parliament stands empty, shut down by a Prime Minister running away from scrutiny. But let me say this. We mustn’t mistake the drama at Westminster for what real politics is about.

What truly matters to people isn’t resignations, defections and late night votes in parliament. For most people all of that is a million miles away.

What truly matters is the reality of their everyday lives – in their community, on the streets, at their workplace.

Real politics for me isn’t about the parliamentary knockabout with all its baffling language and procedures. Real politics is about giving power to people who don’t have a lot of money and don’t have friends in high places so they can take control of their own lives.

Boris Johnson’s political strategy is perfectly clear. He wants to stage a showdown over a No Deal Brexit that he can repackage as a battle between parliament and the people – with the people in this melodrama played by none other than that man of the people – Boris Johnson himself.

But the idea that Johnson and his wealthy friends and backers somehow represent the people is truly absurd. Johnson and his hard right cabinet are not only on the side of the establishment, they are the establishment.

And this Tory government isn’t so different from any other Tory government: they will help the rich get richer and make working class people pay.

Johnson’s reckless No Deal would destroy jobs, push up food prices in the shops and cause shortages of everyday medicines that people rely on. And who bears the cost of that? It wouldn’t be Johnson and his wealthy friends. It’s not their livelihoods on the line. It would be the rest of us.

Just as it wasn’t the bankers Boris Johnson still defends who paid the price for the financial crash of 2008, it was tens of millions of people who had nothing to do with it.

For the Tories this is about so much more than leaving the European Union. It’s about hijacking the referendum result to shift even more power and wealth to those at the top.  They will use a no deal crash to push through policies that benefit them and their super-rich supporters and hurt everyone else – just as they did after the financial crash.

Under the cover of no deal they will sell off our public services, strip away the regulations that keep us safe, and undermine workers’ rights. And they will cement all of this in a race-to-the-bottom trade deal with Donald Trump.

Be in no doubt – a No Deal Brexit is really a Trump Deal Brexit, leading to a one-sided US trade deal negotiated from a position of weakness.

It will put us at the mercy of Trump and the big US corporations itching to get their teeth further into our NHS, sound the death knell for our steel industry and permanently drive down rights and protections for workers. I am not prepared to stand by and let that happen.

And we won’t be importing so called ‘right-to-work’ laws from the US – an Orwellian name if ever I heard one – or any other union busting laws being opposed by our comrades in American unions that Trump will want to impose on British workers.

A Trump Deal Brexit would be a betrayal of the generations of workers who went before, who fought so hard to win the rights and build the public services that bind our society together.

That’s their legacy, their gift to us. We’re not going to let Boris Johnson trade it all away for a sweetheart deal with Trump. That’s why our priority is first to stop No Deal and then to trigger a general election.

Amber Rudd’s resignation confirmed that the government is not serious about trying to get a deal in Brussels. As the prime minister’s top adviser reportedly said: the negotiations are “a sham.”

No one can trust the word of a prime minister who is threatening to break the law to force through No Deal. So a general election is coming. But we won’t allow Johnson to dictate the terms.

And I can tell you this: we’re ready for that election. We’re ready to unleash the biggest people-powered campaign we’ve ever seen. And in that election we will commit to a public vote with a credible option to leave and the option to remain.

Labour is on the side of the people in the real battle against the born-to-rule establishment that Johnson represents. We stand for the interests of the many – the overwhelming majority who do the work and pay their taxes – not the few at the top… who hoard the wealth and dodge their taxes.

It’s Labour’s historic mission to transform people’s lives and that transformation begins in the workplace. In our country, workers have been losing out for far too long.

For 40 years the share of the cake going to workers has been getting smaller and smaller. In 1976 wages took over 64% of GDP now it’s only 54%. It’s no coincidence that the same period has seen a sustained attack on the organisations that represent workers – trade unions.

We have witnessed a deliberate, decades-long transfer of power away from working people. The consequences are stark for all workers, whether members of a trade union or not.

Pay is lower than it was a decade ago in real terms. I’m told that the last decade has seen the biggest squeeze on wages since the Napoleonic Wars. Personally I can’t remember that far back, so I tried to contact Jacob Rees-Mogg this morning to check, but he was fast asleep again on the government benches.

Things cannot go on as they are. Change is coming. And it must be change that gives power to the true wealth creators – the workers. So, today we are announcing that the next Labour government will bring about the biggest extension of rights for workers that our country has ever seen.

We will put power in the hands of workers. What will that mean for people? Better wages, greater security, and more say.

We’ll give workers a seat at the Cabinet table by establishing a new Ministry of Employment Rights. Our shadow Secretary of State for Employment Rights, Laura Pidcock, will explain the detail of our plans when she speaks later. But let me give you an overview.

At the core of its work will be rolling out collective bargaining across the economy sector by sector. It’s a system they have in many of the most successful economies around the world. It prevents undercutting on wages, fosters workplace stability and encourages businesses to invest in productivity.

It’s only by acting together, collectively, that workers can really make their voice heard. So within 100 days of Labour taking office, we will repeal the Tory Trade Union Act.

There’s nothing scary about trade unions. However, hard the billionaire-owned media tries to paint them as such. They are the country’s largest democratic organisations rooted in the workplace.

Why should democracy end when you walk into work? Why should the place where you spend most of your day sometimes feel like a dictatorship?

If as an individual you’re asked to work in conditions that are unsafe, what choice do you have? It’s take it or leave it. But as part of a union, with strength in numbers, you can demand a safe working environment.

I want to say this to everybody who is watching beyond this hall. If you’re feeling powerless about your work situation – take action now – today. Join a trade union.

But there’s a big role for government too in extending workers’ legal rights. Labour will deliver a real living wage of at least £10 per hour for all workers, from the age of 16 action on the gender pay gap, equal rights for all workers from day one and the end of zero-hour contracts. And Labour won’t tell people they have to work until they are 75 before getting their pension.

But rights only mean anything if they’re enforced. Too many employers are getting away with flouting laws. Nearly half a million people are still being paid less than the minimum wage.

We’ll put a stop to that. We’ll create a Workers Protection Agency with real teeth, including the power to enter workplaces and bring prosecutions on workers’ behalf.

If you’re a worker with a boss who makes you work extra hours for no pay or forces you into dangerous situations, you deserve a government that’s on your side and ready to step in to support you.

Our proposals have been developed in consultation with experts, and I would like to thank John Hendy and Keith Ewing in particular for all their help and advice.

Congress, what we’re outlining today will lay the ground for a fundamental transformation of our economy, in favour of the many.

But I have some bad news. We’ve been found out. Last week the Financial Times said that Labour is, and I quote: “determined to shift power away from bosses and landlords and to workers and tenants”.

Well there has been no shortage of rather unkind reporting about our party over the last few years, but this time they’ve got it absolutely right. We will put workers on company boards, and give the workforce a 10% stake in large companies paying a dividend of as much as £500 a year to each employee. And we will give tenants more rights including caps on rent rises.

And that principle of empowering people doesn’t just apply to the workplace. We’ll bring rail, mail, water and the national grid into public ownership, so the essential utilities that people rely on are run by and for the public, not just shareholders.

I want to thank all the unions that are working with us, to develop our new model of public ownership. We’re not recreating the nationalised boards of the past, we’re creating the democracy of tomorrow.

And as we set out how our future economy will operate, we cannot ignore the most pressing issue of all: the climate crisis. Because the destruction of our climate is also a class issue.

It’s working class communities that suffer the worst air pollution – think of all the children living on polluted streets. And it’s working class people who will lose their jobs as resources run down.

The super-rich and the giant corporations will never solve the major design flaws in our economy that are causing the problem, because interests are tied up with them.

But working with the trade union movement, Labour will start a Green Industrial Revolution creating 400,000 well-paid, high skilled, unionised jobs in renewable energy and green technologies.

And we will locate these new industries in parts of the country that have been held back by successive governments; that have focused on the richest in the City of London.

Congress, the coming general election will be a chance for a real change of direction. In the next few weeks the establishment will come after us with all they’ve got, because they know we’re not afraid to take them on.

We’re going after the tax avoiders. We’re going after the bad bosses. We’re going after the dodgy landlords. We’re going after the big polluters destroying our climate. Because we know whose side we’re on.

We’re creating a society of hope and inclusion – not poverty and division. Thank you.

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Boris Johnson could soon be forced to resign as prime minister and make way for Jeremy Corbyn

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Boris Johnson.Getty

  • UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is quickly running out of options after opposition parties agreed to veto his request for an October election.
  • The agreement means that Johnson is likely to soon face a choice between breaking his promise to take Britain out of the European Union by the end of October or stepping down as prime minister.
  • Johnson’s resignation would leave opposition parties the opportunity to appoint a caretaker prime minister who would be charged with delaying Brexit before calling a general election.

Boris Johnson could soon be forced to resign as prime minister. Here’s why;

Johnson became prime minister in July on a promise of taking the UK out of the European Union on October 31 with or without a deal.

But last week that plan collapsed after opposition members of Parliament passed a law designed to force Johnson to seek a three-month delay to Brexit.

Johnson immediately tried to overturn this by forcing an early general election before Britain’s planned exit date. However, opposition parties will on Monday vote to veto Johnson’s request when he makes it for a second time.

This means that Johnson’s plan has all but run out of road and he is likely to soon face a simple but terrible choice between two options — neither of which is good.

1. Break his promise to deliver Brexit on October 31

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Opposition members of Parliament last week passed a law which when it receives royal assent on Monday will force whoever is prime minister on October 16 to request a three-month delay to Brexit.

Without an early election, Johnson has no hope of overturning this law — meaning that if nothing else changes he would be legally obliged to break his promise to take Britain out of the EU, “do or die,” on October 31. Doing so would risk a collapse in his support among Brexit voters and could even lead to a leadership challenge within his party.

Because of this risk, Johnson has repeatedly insisted that there are “no circumstances” under which he would seek a delay to Brexit, saying on Thursday that he would sooner “be dead in a ditch” than comply with the law.

Some Downing Street sources have suggested in recent days that the prime minister could simply break the law. However, the Attorney General and other senior ministers have insisted the prime minister has now assured them he will not do this. This means he really has only one other option.

2. Resign as prime minister

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If opposition parties refuse to give Johnson an October election and if he decides he cannot break his promise to deliver Brexit, then Johnson very quickly runs out of other options.

Last week, one senior minister told The Times that under those circumstances Johnson would opt instead to resign as prime minister. His official representative on Friday repeatedly refused to rule this out when asked by journalists at a regular briefing in Parliament.

As even the Conservative commentator Paul Goodman points out on Monday: “If there is an escape from this trap other than resignation, we would love to know what it is.”

Under this scenario, Johnson would step down and make way for opposition parties to form a government instead. Because of the defection of Conservative MP Phillip Lee and Johnson’s decision to oust 21 Conservative members of Parliament last week, the prime minister no longer has a working majority in the House of Commons.

If Johnson did resign, the queen would have little choice but to look to opposition parties to try to form a government. Johnson would then become the leader of the opposition, and a new prime minister — drawn from the opposition — would take over.

A caretaker prime minister takes over

Jeremy Corbyn. Getty

As the leader of the largest opposition party, Jeremy Corbyn would then be best placed to lead this caretaker government.

Other opposition parties are reluctant to make him prime minister even temporarily. But they could, in theory, agree to do so if he committed to calling an election as soon as he secures an extension to Brexit, as he has already offered to do.

Alternatively, Corbyn could agree to allow another opposition politician to fill the role.

This would be an utterly extraordinary series of events and in ordinary times would be dismissed as mere fantasy.

However, these are not ordinary times, and such an outcome could work for both Johnson and Corbyn.

For Corbyn, this scenario would allow him to prevent a no-deal Brexit and potentially become prime minister, before going into a general election in which he would hope to win.

For Johnson, it would allow him to avoid breaking his promise while blaming Labour for the Brexit delay. He would also then be in a good position to win the next election.

So could this be where the UK ends up in the next few weeks? We will find out very soon.

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Brexit: MPs back bid to block Parliament suspension

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MPs have backed a bid to stop a new prime minister suspending Parliament to force through a no-deal Brexit//BBC NEWS

A majority of 41 approved an amendment that blocks suspension between 9 October and 18 December unless a Northern Ireland executive is formed.

Four cabinet ministers, including Philip Hammond, abstained and 17 Tory MPs rebelled, including minister Margot James, who has resigned.

Leadership contender Boris Johnson has not ruled out suspending Parliament.

His rival Jeremy Hunt has ruled out this move.

Ms James told the BBC attempting to suspend Parliament was “too extreme” adding: “I thought the time was right today to join people who are trying to do something about it.”

The four cabinet ministers who abstained are International Development Secretary Rory Stewart, Business Secretary Greg Clark and Justice Secretary David Gauke, as well as Chancellor Mr Hammond.

Mr Clark defended his decision to abstain arguing: “I couldn’t support the idea that we would allow the doors of Parliament to be locked against MPs at this crucially important time – that would be a constitutional outrage.”

Mr Hammond tweeted: “It should not be controversial to believe that Parliament be allowed to sit, and have a say, during a key period in our country’s history.”

Image copyrightUK PARLIAMENTImage captionMargot James told the BBC “I felt it was time to put my marker down”

A Downing Street spokesman said the prime minister was “obviously disappointed that a number of ministers failed to vote in this afternoon’s division”.

“No doubt her successor will take this into account when forming their government,” the spokesman said.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said the vote was “an important victory to prevent the Tories from suspending Parliament to force through a disastrous no deal”.

BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg said the Commons had now made it harder for a new prime minister to suspend Parliament.

If the 31 October deadline is reached without Parliament backing an agreement between the UK government and the EU, the UK is scheduled to leave the EU without a deal.

MPs have consistently voted against a no-deal Brexit, but the prime minister could try to get around that by suspending Parliament – proroguing – in the run-up to the deadline, denying them an opportunity to block it.

The amendment to the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Bill was put forward by MPs including former minister Alistair Burt and Brexit committee chairman and Labour MP Hilary Benn.

It would mean that if Parliament is prorogued when the government publishes reports on the situation in Northern Ireland, MPs must be recalled to debate them.

Mr Burt told the BBC that Parliament had said “very clearly please don’t bypass us… Parliament must be sitting in the run up to 31 October”.

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Boris Johnson’s Parliament Suspension Prompts Growing Backlash, The Weak Suffer What They Must

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British constitutional crisis – outrage, tinpot dictatorsip all from a man who is less than a month in office, with a mandate of a miserly 0.3 percent vote – TORY membership vote//CRIMSON TAZVINZWA

 

LONDON — Britain’s prime minister, Boris Johnson, faced a growing and angry backlash on Thursday as his decision to suspend Parliament next month prompted protests and legal challenges, and political opponents scrambled to salvage efforts to stop a disorderly  Brexit.

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© Daniel Sorabji/AFP/Getty Images
Demonstrators hold placards as they protest outside of Downing Street on Aug. 28.

 

The normally fractious opposition swiftly united in outrage at Mr. Johnson’s maneuver on Wednesday, which brought protesters onto the streets in London and other cities across the country, while an online petition against the action drew well over a million signatures.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson of Britain on Wednesday cut short the time lawmakers have to debate his Brexit plans, announcing that he had asked the queen to suspend Parliament days after lawmakers return to work from a break, and just weeks before a looming Brexit deadline.

The move, which limits legislative time before Britain’s planned Oct. 31 withdrawal from the European Union, drew immediate criticism from the opposition — and some lawmakers within Mr. Johnson’s own Conservative Party — and caused the British pound to plunge.

The move also strained relations within Mr. Johnson’s Conservative Party and prompted claims from critics that the government was trampling the conventions of the country’s unwritten Constitution, undermining its democracy.

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Brexit: Boris Johnson calls for ‘common sense’ compromise

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EU should show ‘common sense’ on BrexitPrime Minister Considers General Election To Force No-deal through///BBC NEWS

The EU should show “common sense” and agree to make changes to the Brexit withdrawal deal, Boris Johnson has told the BBC.

The prime minister said there was “bags of time” for the EU to compromise on the Irish border backstop plan before the Brexit deadline of 31 October.

He also warned MPs not to oppose Brexit, and to respect the 2016 referendum result.

The EU has said repeatedly the backstop arrangements cannot be changed.

Mr Johnson said the policy – designed to guarantee there will not be a hard Irish border after Brexit – would turn the UK into a “satellite state” of the EU if it came into effect.

Speaking during a visit to Oxfordshire, he said the arrangements would “keep us locked in EU regulatory orbit, locked in the EU trading system, unable to control our own laws”.

“We need change on that, once we get change on that I think we’re at the races, and I think there’s a good deal to be done.”

Theresa May’s deal has been rejected three times by MPs and as things stand, the UK will leave the EU on 31 October whether it has agreed a new one or not.

Many of those who voted against the deal had concerns over the backstop, which if implemented, would see Northern Ireland staying aligned to some rules of the EU single market.

It would also see the UK stay in a single customs territory with the EU, and align with current and future EU rules on competition and state aid.

These arrangements would apply unless and until both the EU and UK agreed they were no longer necessary.

No confidence vote

The Prime Minister’s comments come amid growing speculation that opposition MPs will table a vote of no confidence in the government in a move to try and stop the UK leaving the EU without a deal.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has said Labour will table a no-confidence vote at an “appropriate” time, once MPs return from the summer break in September.

What is a vote of no confidence?

According to the Sunday Telegraph, Mr Johnson’s senior advisor at No 10, Dominic Cummings, has told MPs even losing such a vote could not stop the PM taking the UK out of the EU on 31 October.

He reportedly said Mr Johnson could call an election for after the deadline, with Brexit taking place in the meantime.

On Wednesday, shadow chancellor John McDonnell said he would expect Mr Johnson to step aside if he lost a no-confidence vote.

“No prime minister can sustain themselves in office when they no longer have a majority in the Commons”, he said, speaking at the Edinburgh Festival.

“I don’t want to drag the Queen into this, but I would be sending Jeremy Corbyn in a cab to Buckingham Palace to say ‘we’re taking over’.”

Asked whether he would resign in those circumstances, Mr Johnson said MPs should ensure Brexit takes place by the end of October.

“What MPs should do and what they’ve already voted to do, when triggering Article 50 and reconfirmed several times, is honour the mandate of the people”, he said.

On Tuesday cabinet minister Michael Gove accused the EU of “refusing to negotiate with the UK” over a new Brexit deal.

The European Commission said it was willing to hold further talks, “should the UK wish to clarify its position”.

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