Jeremy Corbyn – 2017 Speech to CBI Conference

Below is the text of the speech made by Jeremy Corbyn, the Leader of the Opposition, to the CBI Conference on 6 November 2017.

It’s a pleasure to be with you here for the second year running.

And a good deal has changed since I came to your conference last year.

We’ve had a surprise General Election and to many people here, perhaps an even more surprising result. A result that returned a weak and divided Conservative Government and a Labour opposition stronger and more united than before.

We have also seen the terms of economic debate shift dramatically.

I put it to you last year that for too many people the economic system simply isn’t working.

A system that has delivered rising inequality and falling living standards for the majority, when six million of those in work are earning less than the living wage.

It’s a system in which large numbers of people have lost confidence.

And it’s not hard to see why. The richest 10 per cent now own 900 times the wealth of the poorest 10 per cent and in recent years half of the increase in personal wealth has gone to the top 10 per cent.

I put it to you this year that a crucial reason for the surprising election result; the biggest turnaround in polls during an election campaign in British history, is that Labour went to the country with a vision that offered hope and change.

Our manifesto, For the Many Not the Few, set out a fully costed programme to build an economy which gives everyone the chance of a secure and fulfilling life.

Since the General Election in June the political establishment has finally begun to catch up.

Calls to end austerity now come from all sides in parliament.

Senior cabinet members are taking their lead from Labour and pushing for more radical solutions to the housing and student debt crises.

Sajid Javid advocates £50 billion of borrowing for investment in housing.

Jeremy Hunt has broken ranks and called for an end to the public sector pay cap.

Few would have predicted this a year ago. And of course we’ve yet to see if they’ve convinced the Chancellor.

It is a measure of the essential pragmatism of business people that so many have changed their outlook too.

Business people across the country have expressed to me a growing awareness – and acceptance – that things need to change.

The London Chamber of Commerce recently called for councils to be allowed to borrow freely to build housing.

We all know an economic model that allows a few to grow very rich while the majority face falling incomes and rising indebtedness; that leaves too many people in unfulfilling and insecure work; that is overly reliant on one sector in one region of our country, is neither stable nor sustainable.

And in this Living Wage Week, of all weeks, we have to be clear that Britain needs a pay rise.

When too much of household income is going to pay debts or rent, that’s less money for consumers to spend on productive businesses. That’s why Labour backs a Real Living Wage and sensible controls on rents and debts.

Because it isn’t good for business either.

We understand that Labour has changed and you have changed.

But there is one thing that hasn’t changed.

A year ago, we were just five months on from the referendum vote to leave the European Union. The Government’s sluggish response to which had already created unprecedented uncertainty for business.

A year on, Article 50 has been triggered, Brexit negotiations are underway but businesses feel no closer to having the clarity about the direction of travel they desperately need.

Indeed, watching chaos and confusion grow at the heart of Government and Brexit negotiations stuck in stalemate, many of you probably feel that the situation is more uncertain and precarious than ever.

Time is running out. We know, as you do, that firms are deciding now whether to continue to invest in the UK, and that guarantees in key areas are needed now to stop firms from cutting the UK out of their business models.

A few weeks ago, you joined forces with Britain’s other major business organisations, the Engineering Employers Federation, the Chamber of Commerce, the Institute of Directors and the Federation of Small Business, to ask the Government to heed the needs of business as they negotiate our exit from the European Union.

We agree. We need a Brexit that puts jobs and living standards first and it is Labour that has common ground with you on putting the needs of the economy front and centre stage.

We have common ground on the need for transitional arrangements to be agreed immediately so that businesses know they won’t face a cliff-edge Brexit when the two year negotiating period is up.

Because let me be clear: to delay a transition deal until a final deal is agreed as the Prime Minister says she wants to do, is simply not good enough.

The prospect of sudden changes in the legal and regulatory environment in which people do business is affecting your decisions right now.

And we have common ground on the threat of “no deal” which, contrary to the claims of the Secretary of State for International Trade, is potentially a nightmare scenario. One that involves tariffs on our food imports and our manufacturing exports, queues at our ports and a hard border in Northern Ireland with all the dangers that could bring.

The fact that some in the cabinet want “no deal” to re-launch Britain as a race-to-the-bottom deregulated tax haven on the shores of Europe only adds to the risks.

And we agree on the need to signal that the UK remains open to the rest of the world that Europe is not the “enemy” but our partner in a strong cooperative relationship for the future.

And that EU citizens living in the UK are our friends and fellow workers, which is why the Government should immediately and unilaterally guarantee them full rights to remain here; in fact they should have done so months ago. And indeed Labour called for that in July of last year.

Like you, we have always said that we respect the result of the referendum. Like you, we have always said that the economy, jobs and living standards should come first in the negotiations, which means it is crucial that the final deal maintains the benefits of the common market and the customs union.

I promise you today between now and March 2019, we will use every opportunity we can find to put pressure on the Government to do the same.

But, as Carolyn has so rightly pointed out, we mustn’t use up all our energies on the Brexit negotiations – there is vital action to be taken at home too.

What will be determined in the next two years is not just our relationship with the EU, but the kind of economy – and country – we want to live in.

A bad Brexit deal risks exacerbating existing weaknesses in our economy – low investment, low productivity, low pay.

We will be letting the country down if we don’t seize on this period of change to tackle those weaknesses at their root causes by working together to give shape to a new economic model that will create a fairer, richer Britain for all.

I believe we share a great deal of common ground over how this should be done.

Again, I echo Carolyn; if we are to raise wages and living standards we must solve our productivity crisis.

And it is a crisis.

It continues to take a worker in Britain five days to produce what a worker in France or Germany produces in four.

If the OBR decides that our recent dismal productivity performance is not an aberration but the new normal, and revises down their projections when they report to Parliament later this month it will take a huge toll on our public finances – as the Institute for Fiscal Studies has pointed out.

It couldn’t be clearer: our productivity crisis is making our country poorer.

The answer to our productivity crisis lies in investment, in infrastructure, in new technologies and in people.

Business investment is being held back by creaking infrastructure and a shortage of skilled workers. So Government must act first.

Yet under the Conservatives, crucial infrastructure investment has been delayed – from rail electrification to the Swansea Tidal Lagoon; the adult skills budget has been slashed. They even went into the election promising to cut per pupil schools funding in real terms.

The Chancellor should use his Autumn Budget to change direction, and invest for long-term growth.

That is what Labour has already pledged to do.

With a National Transformation Fund to upgrade our country’s infrastructure and reverse years of under-investment in the regions; investing in transport, energy and digital infrastructure right across the country.

We will establish a National Investment Bank with a network of regional development banks that will provide patient finance for firms wanting to adopt and implement existing innovations and to develop new ones. We are a very creative country.

And we’ll build a National Education Service to ensure that, when businesses create skilled jobs, there are people able to fill them. And when businesses adopt new technologies, there are employees who know how to use them.

These policies will help create the conditions businesses need to invest… but they will only deliver the improvements our economy needs if they are backed up by a bold industrial strategy.

Again, this Government is failing to act. We have heard a lot of warm words on industrial strategy, but we are still waiting to hear how they will take it forward.

Labour’s industrial strategy, built on national missions – for energy transition and to increase R&D spending to 3 per cent of GDP by 2030 – will lay down the challenges to business, and provide the foundations on which they can be met.

We will invest £1.3bn on R&D in our first two years in Government, to galvanise private investment, set up two new catapult centres for retail and metals, centres of collaboration and innovation, to drive productivity improvement and harness the £200bn spent by the public sector each year to boost local economies and supply chains, to bring prosperity to every region of the country.

This is how we deliver properly funded public services in the long run, and ensure everyone earns enough to live on.

If we get this right, it is not just our economy that will be stronger, but our political institutions and our social bonds as well.

We will, as you know, raise some taxes to pay for it, to ensure that our spending plans fit within the constraints of our fiscal credibility rule.

But when we do, we will be clear and open about our tax plans, as we were during the general election campaign. We won’t do it by stealth.

And we will seek to improve the functioning of business taxation wherever possible by uprating business rates in line with CPI instead of RPI, moving to annual revaluations, and exempting new plant and machinery and by looking at staggering tax incentives for investment and innovation.

We will do this because a fair and functional taxation system is the only way to deliver the investment in infrastructure and skills that are so desperately needed across the country.

I’m sure everyone here will agree, providing good infrastructure and education is what responsible governments do.

And it’s not just government that has a duty to be responsible, business does too. From ensuring their suppliers, often small businesses, are paid promptly, to ensuring they pay their taxes in full too.

The shocking revelations from the Paradise Papers today, yet again of widespread tax avoidance and evasion on an industrial scale must lead to decisive action and real change.

It is by no means all big businesses but these actions by a few undermine trust in all businesses.

And businesses are the victim too, not just reputationally but financially.

Those businesses that play by the rules and pay the taxes they owe are being undercut by those who don’t.

The vital revenues government needs to fund an industrial strategy, good infrastructure and the world class education system we aspire to; these things can only be delivered by fair taxation.

So while we mustn’t tarnish all businesses by the actions of the few, we also have a duty to come down hard on those who are avoiding the responsibilities and give HM Revenue & Customs the resources it needs.

As our Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell has set out this morning, we need a full public inquiry into tax avoidance and evasion, on and offshore, a register of companies and trusts, and who benefits from them, and a new tax enforcement unit in HMRC and an end to public contracts for companies abusing the system.

And we will look at using a withholding tax where individuals or companies are involved in abusing the system and end public contracts for companies engaged in abusive tax avoidance.

Please understand the public anger and consternation at the scale of tax avoidance revealed yet again today. We are talking about tens of billions that are effectively being leached from our vital public services by a super-rich elite that holds the taxation system and the rest of us in contempt. We must take action now to put an end to this socially damaging and extortionately costly scandal.

And there’s another area where we have we all have a duty to act – and act now.

Faced with the ongoing revelations about sexual harassment we should make this a turning point and a moment of real change. We must no longer allow anyone to be abused in the workplace.

Such abuse, sexism and misogyny is, sadly, very far from being confined to Hollywood and the corridors of power, but is also widespread in our schools and universities, in our businesses and workplaces, in our newspapers and on our TV screens. It is all around us.

That must change and business has an essential role to play. All of you need to look hard at yourselves, as we in the Labour Party are doing ourselves, to see how your processes and procedures can be improved. How it can be made easier for women to speak out and for victims to get the support they have a right to expect.

Businesses can have a vital partner in rooting out injustice in the workplace – trade unions. They are crucial to taking on and rooting out sexual harassment and discrimination. And I would encourage each and every business serious about improving your workplace culture and tackling sexual discrimination at work to engage with trade unions.

Governments also have other responsibilities – enforcing a fair and transparent regulatory framework so that, for example, businesses aren’t destroyed by the likes of RBS abusing their power, providing for the health of our citizens and, yes, in some cases, running essential public utilities.

Because every one of you in this room who knows what goes into seeing an idea brought to market or what it takes to survive the cut and thrust of consumer choice month to month, knows that privatised monopoly utilities are not real markets. Where’s the pressure for efficiency and innovation if consumers cannot go elsewhere when they are dissatisfied?

I know some of you disagree and think that bringing some parts of the economy into public ownership won’t be good for the reputation of business, but it’s not good for the image of business when water companies pay out billions in dividend and interest payments through opaque financial arrangements, while households see their bills go up to pay for it.

It’s not good for business people if their employees have to spend huge amounts of time and money getting to and from work each day on expensive and unreliable services.

It is not good for manufacturers to have among the most expensive energy in Europe, or see energy transition held back because the necessary investments to transform our energy grid are not being made.

And, just as it wouldn’t be good for business to be locked into inefficient funding arrangements that don’t provide finance on the best terms available, or inflexible contracts that don’t adapt to your needs, nor is it good for the public.

That’s why we will end the Private Finance Initiative – because PFI contracts have over-charged the public to the tune of billions.

You wouldn’t put up with it and neither will we.

But we won’t let ending PFI hold up vital infrastructure investment. We’ll end it to make sure that investment happens in a way that gives best value for money for the public, and in a way that better meets user needs.

This isn’t about being anti-business, anti-enterprise, or about closing ourselves off to the rest of the world.

It is about deciding to attract business from across the world by creating world-class infrastructure that is efficiently funded, cheap and reliable energy, safe and efficient water and transport systems and a skilled and educated population.

Not by allowing a select few to make monopoly profits from our essential utilities.

This isn’t a throwback to a bygone era; it’s entirely in step with what is happening in the rest of the world. Some of the world’s biggest economies – Germany, France, even the United States are deciding that key sectors such as energy and water are better off in public ownership. It’s time for Britain to catch up.

Building an economy for the many will mean making some big changes.

But it will also mean an economy that is stronger, fairer and more stable and business people know more than anyone how important that is.

Common ground on Brexit, common ground on investment, training and industrial strategy and a government that embraces its responsibilities and carries them out for the common good.

That’s what Labour offers you. That’s what Labour offers Britain.

Thank you.

Jeremy Corbyn – 2017 Speech at Labour Party Conference

Below is the text of the speech made by Jeremy Corbyn, the Leader of the Opposition, at the Labour Party Conference held in Brighton on 27 September 2017.

Conference, thank you for that. We meet here this week as a united Party, advancing in every part of Britain, winning the confidence of millions of our fellow citizens, setting out our ideas and plans for our country’s future, that have already inspired people of all ages and backgrounds.

And it’s a privilege to be speaking in Brighton. A city that not only has a long history of hosting Labour conferences, but also of inspirational Labour activists.

It was over a century ago, here in Brighton, that a teenage shop worker had had enough of the terrible conditions facing her and her workmates. She risked the sack to join the Shop Workers’ Union, after learning about it in a newspaper used to wrap up fish and chips, and was so effective at standing up for women shop workers, she became assistant general secretary before the age of 30.

In that role she seconded the historic resolution at the Trades Union Congress of 1899 to set up the Labour Representation Committee so that working people would finally have representation in Parliament.

That became the Labour Party and it was this woman, Margaret Bondfield who later become a Labour MP. And in 1929, the first ever woman to join the British cabinet’

From a Brighton drapery to Downing Street. Margaret Bondfield’s story is a reminder of the decisive role women have played in the Labour Party from its foundation, and that Labour has always been about making change by working together and standing up for others.

Conference, against all predictions in June we won the largest increase in the Labour vote since 1945 and achieved Labour’s best vote for a generation. It’s a result which has put the Tories on notice and Labour on the threshold of power.

Yes, we didn’t do quite well enough and we remain in opposition for now, but we have become a Government-in-waiting. Our outstanding shadow cabinet team here today. And our message to the country could not be clearer – Labour is ready.

Ready to tackle inequality , ready to rebuild our NHS, ready to give opportunity to young people, dignity and security to older people, ready to invest in our economy and meet the challenges of climate change and automation, ready to put peace and justice at the heart of foreign policy. And ready to build a new and progressive relationship with Europe.

We are ready and the Tories are clearly not. They’re certainly not strong and they’re definitely not stable. They’re not remotely united. And they’re hanging on by their fingertips.

But this Tory Government does have one thing that we lack. They have tracked down the Magic Money Tree when it was needed to keep Theresa May in Downing Street. It was given a good old shake – and lo and behold – now we know the price of power – it’s about £100m for each Democratic Unionist MP.

During the election campaign, Theresa May told voters they faced the threat of a “coalition of chaos . Remember that? Well, now they’re showing us exactly how that works. And I don’t just mean the Prime Minister’s desperate deal with the DUP. She’s got a “coalition of chaos” around her own cabinet table – Phillip Hammond and Liam Fox, Boris Johnson and David Davis.

At each other’s throats, squabbling and plotting, manoeuvring to bundle the Prime Minister out of Number Ten and take her place at the first opportunity Instead of getting to grips with the momentous issues facing our country.

But this coalition of chaos is no joke. Just look at their record since the Conservatives have been in office;

The longest fall in people’s pay since record began

Homelessness doubled

NHS waiting lists lengthening

School class sizes growing and teachers leaving

Over 4 million children now in poverty

20,000 police officers … and 11,000 firefighters cut

More people in work and in poverty … than ever before

Condemned by the United Nations for violating the rights of disabled people.

That’s not strong and stable. It’s callous and calculating. Because the Tories calculated that making life worse for millions in the name of austerity would pay for hefty tax handouts to the rich and powerful.

Conference, your efforts in the election campaign stopped the Tories in their tracks. The election result has already delivered one Tory U-turn after another over some of their most damaging policies. The cruel dementia tax was scrapped within three days of being announced. Plans to bring back grammar schools have been ditched . The threat to the pensions’ triple lock abandoned. Withdrawal of Winter Fuel payments dumped. The pledge to bring back fox hunting dropped. And their plan to end free school meals in primary schools has been binned.

The reality is that barely three months since the election this coalition of Conservative chaos is tearing up its Manifesto and tearing itself apart. They are bereft of ideas and energy. Indeed, they seem to be cherry-picking Labour policies instead, including on Brexit.

I say to the Prime Minister: “You’re welcome . But go the whole hog end austerity, abolish tuition fees, scrap the public sector pay cap. I think we can find a Commons majority for all of that. This is a weak and divided Government with no purpose beyond clinging to power.

It is Labour that is now setting the agenda and winning the arguments for a new common sense about the direction our country should take.

Conference, there were two stars of our election campaign. The first was our Manifesto that drew on the ideas of our members and trade unionists and the hopes and aspirations of their communities and workplaces. And we were clear about how we would pay for it by asking the richest and the largest corporations to start paying their fair share.

Not simply to redistribute within a system that isn’t delivering for most people but to transform that system. So we set out not only how we would protect public services but how we would rebuild and invest in our economy, with a publicly-owned engine of sustainable growth, driven by national and regional investment banks, to generate good jobs and prosperity in every region and nation.

Our Manifesto is the programme of a modern, progressive socialist party that has rediscovered its roots and its purpose, bucking the trend across Europe.

And Conference, the other star of that campaign was YOU. Our members, our supporters in the trade unions, our doorstep and social media campaigners. Young people sharing messages and stories on social media, hundreds of thousands organising online and on the ground to outplay the Tories’ big money machine.

Is it any wonder that here today in Brighton you represent the largest political party in western Europe, with nearly 600,000 members, alongside three million affiliated trade unionists, brimming with enthusiasm and confidence in the potential of our people. You are the future. And let me say straight away. I’m awed and humbled by everything you have done, along with hundreds of thousands of others across the country, to take us to where we are today.

I have never been more proud to be your elected leader. Our election campaign gave people strength. It brought millions on to the electoral register and inspired millions to go to vote for the first time.

And Labour was the Party of unity, bringing generations and communities together, rather than pitting young and old against each other, as the Tories did. We will never seek to squeeze one generation to support another. Under Labour, people will win together.

The result of our campaign confounded every expert and sceptic. I see John McDonnell said the ‘grey beards’ had got it all wrong. I’m not sure that’s entirely fair, John? We wiped out the Tory majority, winning support in every social and age group and gaining seats in every region and nation of the country.

So please, Theresa May take another walking holiday and make another impetuous decision. The Labour campaign machine is primed and ready to roll.

Of course, there were some who didn’t come out of the election too well. I’m thinking of some of our more traditional media friends. They ran the campaign they always do under orders from their tax exile owners to trash Labour at every turn. The day before the election one paper devoted fourteen pages to attacking the Labour Party. And our vote went up nearly 10%.

Never have so many trees died in vain. The British people saw right through it. So this is a message to the Daily Mail’s editor- next time, please could you make it 28 pages?

But there’s a serious message too, the campaign by the Tories and their loyal media was nasty and personal. It fuelled abuse online and no one was the target of that more than Diane Abbott. She has a decades-long record of campaigning for social justice and has suffered intolerable misogynistic and racist abuse. Faced with such an overwhelmingly hostile press and an army of social media trolls,it’s even more important that we stand.

Yes we will disagree, but there can never be any excuse for any abuse of anybody. We settle our differences with democratic votes and unite around those decision.

That is the Labour Party, here this week, and out in the communities EVERY week -diverse, welcoming, democratic and ready to serve our country.

There is no bigger test in politics right now than Brexit, an incredibly important and complex process, that cannot be reduced to repeating fairy stories from the side of a bus or waiting 15 months to state the obvious. As democratic socialists, we accept and respect the referendum result, but respect for a democratic decision does not mean giving a green light to a recklesss Tory Brexit agenda that would plunge Britain into a Trump-style race-to-the-bottom in rights and corporate taxes.

We are not going to be passive spectators to a hopelessly inept negotiating team putting at risk people’s jobs, rights and living standards. A team more interested in posturing for personal advantage than in getting the best deal for our country. To be fair, Theresa May’s speech in Florence last week did unite the cabinet. for a few hours at least. Her plane had barely touched down at Heathrow before the divisions broke out again.

Never has the national interest been so ill-served on such a vital issue, If there were no other reason for the Tories to go their self-interested Brexit bungling would be reason enough. So I have a simple message to the cabinet for Britain’s sake pull yourself together or make way.

One thing needs to be made clear straight away. The three million EU citizens currently living and working in Britain are welcome here. They have been left under a cloud of insecurity by this government when their future could have been settled months ago. So Theresa May, give them the full guarantees they deserve today. If you don’t, we will.

Since the referendum result our Brexit team has focused above all on our economic future. That future is now under real threat. A powerful faction in the Conservative leadership sees Brexit as their chance to create a tax haven on the shores of Europe a low-wage, low tax deregulated playground for the hedge funds and speculators. A few at the top would do very nicely, no question. But manufacturing industries would go to the wall taking skilled jobs with them our tax base would crumble our public services would be slashed still further.

We are now less than 18 months away from leaving the European Union. And so far, the Tory trio leading the talks have got nowhere and agreed next to nothing. This rag-tag Cabinet spends more time negotiating with each other than they do with the EU. A cliff-edge Brexit is at risk of becoming a reality. That is why Labour has made clear that Britain should stay within the basic terms of the single market and a customs union for a limited transition period. It is welcome at least that Theresa May has belatedly accepted that.

But beyond that transition, our task is a different one. It is to unite everyone in our country around a progressive vision of what Britain could be, but with a government that stands for the many not the few.

Labour is the only party that can bring together those who voted leave and those who backed remain and unite the country for a future beyond Brexi. What matters in the Brexit negotiations is to achieve a settlement that delivers jobs, rights and decent living standards.

Conference, the real divide over Brexit could not be . A shambolic Tory Brexit driving down standards .Or a Labour Brexit that puts jobs first a Brexit for the many, one that guarantees unimpeded access to the single market and establishes a new co-operative relationship with the EU.

A Brexit that uses powers returned from Brussels to support a new industrial strategy to upgrade our economy in every region and nation. One that puts our economy first not fake immigration targets that fan the flames of fear. We will never follow the Tories into the gutter of blaming migrants for the ills of society. It isn’t migrants who drive down wages and conditions but the worst bosses in collusion with a Conservative government that never misses a chance to attack trade unions and weaken people’s rights at work.

Labour will take action to stop employers driving down pay and conditions not pander to scapegoating or racism. How Britain leaves the European Union is too important to be left to the Conservatives and their internal battles and identity crises.

Labour will hold Theresa May’s squabbling ministers to account every step of the way in these talks. And, with our Brexit team of Keir Starmer, Emily Thornberry and Barry Gardiner we stand ready to take over whenever this government fails. to negotiate a new relationship with Europe that works for us all reaching outto help create a Europe for the many for the future.

The truth is …. That under the Tories Britain’s future is at risk whatever the outcome of the Brexit process. Our economy no longer delivers secure housing secure well-paid jobs or rising living standards. There is a new common sense emerging about how the country should be run. That’s what we fought for in the election and that’s what’s needed to replace the broken model forged by Margaret Thatcher many years ago.

And Ten years after the global financial crash the Tories still believe in the same dogmatic mantra – Deregulate, privatise ,cut taxes for the wealthy, weaken rights at work, delivering profits for a few, and debt for the many. Nothing has changed. It’s as if we’re stuck in a political and economic time-warp.

As the Financial Times put it last month our “financial system still looks a lot like the pre-crisis one” and the capitalist system still faces a “crisis of legitimacy”, stemming from the crash.

Now is the time that government took a more active role in restructuring our economy. Now is the time that corporate boardrooms were held accountable for their actions, And now is the time that we developed a new model of economic management to replace the failed dogmas of neo-liberalism … That is why Labour is looking not just to repair the damage done by austerity but to transform our economy with a new and dynamic role for the public sector particularly where the private sector has evidently failed.

Take the water industry. Of the nine water companies in England six are now owned by private equity or foreign sovereign wealth funds. Their profits are handed out in dividends to shareholders while the infrastructure crumbles the companies pay little or nothing in tax and executive pay has soared as the service deteriorates.

That is why we are committed to take back our utilities into public ownership to put them at the service of our people and our economy and stop the public being ripped off.

Of course there is much more that needs to be done. Our National Investment Bank… and the Transformation Fund will be harnessed to mobilise public investment to create wealth and good jobs. When I’ve met business groups I’ve been frank we will invest in the education and skills of the workforce and we will invest in better infrastructure from energy to digital but we are going to ask big business to pay a bit more tax.

The Tory approach to the economy isn’t entrepreneurial It’s extractive. They’re not focused on long-term investment and wealth creation. When you look at what they do rather than what they say it’s all about driving down wages, services and standards … to make as much money as quickly as possible with government not as the servant of the people but of global corporations. And their disregard for rampant inequality the hollowing out of our public services, the disdain for the powerless and the poorhave made our society more brutal and less caring.

Now that degraded regime has a tragic monument the chilling wreckage of Grenfell Tower. A horrifying fire in which dozens perished an entirely avoidable human disaster. One which is an indictment not just of decades of failed housing policies and privatisation and the yawning inequality in one of the wealthiest boroughs and cities in the world, it is also a damning indictment of a whole outlook which values council tax refunds for the wealthy above decent provision for all and which has contempt for working class communities.

Before the fire, a tenants’ group of Grenfell residents had warned … and I quote words that should haunt all politicians “the Grenfell Action Group firmly believesthat only a catastrophic event will expose the ineptitude and incompetence of our landlord”. Grenfell is not just the result of bad political decisions It stands for a failed and broken system which Labour must and will replace.

The poet Ben Okri recently wrote in his poem “Grenfell Tower”:

Those who were living now are dead

Those who were breathing are from the living earth fled

If you want to see how the poor die, come see Grenfell Tower.

See the tower, and let a world changing dream flower.

We have a duty as a country to learn the lessons from this calamity and ensure that a changed world flowers . I hope that the public inquiry will assist. But a decent home is a right for everyone whatever their income or background. And houses should be homes for the many not speculative investments for a few. Look at the Conservative housing record and you understand why Grenfell residents are sceptical about their Conservative council and this Conservative government.

Since 2010: homelessness has doubled, 120,000 children don’t have a home to call their own, home ownership has fallen, thousands are living in homes unfit for human habitation. This is why alongside our Shadow Housing minister John Healey we’re launching a review of social housing policy – its building, planning, regulation and management.

We will listen to tenants across the country and propose a radical programme of action to next year’s conference. But some things are already clear tenants are not being listened to.

We will insist that every home is fit for human habitation, a proposal this Tory government voted down. And we will control rents – when the younger generation’s housing costs are three times more than those of their grandparents, that is not sustainable.

Rent controls exist in many cities across the world and I want our cities to have those powers too and tenants to have those protections. We also need to tax undeveloped land held by developers and have the power to compulsorily purchase. As Ed Miliband said, “Use it or lose it”. Families need homes.

After Grenfell we must think again about what are called regeneration schemes.

Regeneration is a much abused word.

Too often what it really means is forced gentrification and social cleansing, as private developers move in and tenants and leaseholders are moved out.

We are very clear: we will stop the cuts to social security.

But we need to go further, as conference decided yesterday.

So when councils come forward with proposals for regeneration, we will put down two markers based on one simple principle:

Regeneration under a Labour government will be for the benefit of the local people, not private developers, not property speculators.

First, people who live on an estate that’s redeveloped must get a home on the same site and the same terms as before.

No social cleansing, no jacking up rents, no exorbitant ground rents.

And second councils will have to win a ballot of existing tenants and leaseholders before any redevelopment scheme can take place.

Real regeneration, yes, but for the many not the few.

That’s not all that has to change.

All parties unite in paying tribute to our public sector workers:

The firefighters who ran into Grenfell Tower to save lives; the health service workers caring for the maimed in the Manchester terrorist outrage; the brave police officers who confronted the attackers at London Bridge; and PC Keith Palmer who gave his life when terrorists attack our democracy.

Our public servants make the difference every day, between a decent and a threadbare society.

Everyone praises them. But it is Labour that values them and is prepared to give them the pay rise they deserve and protect the services they provide.

Year after year the Tories have cut budgets and squeezed public sector pay, while cutting taxes for the highest earners and the big corporations.

You can’t care for the nation’s health when doctors and nurses are being asked to accept falling living standards year after year.

You can’t educate our children properly in ever larger class sizes with more teachers than ever leaving the profession.

You can’t protect the public on the cheap.

The police and security services must get the resources they need, not 20,000 police cuts.

Scrapping the public sector pay squeeze isn’t an act of charity – it is a necessity to keep our public services fully staffed and strong.

Not everything worthwhile costs money though.

Like many people, I have been moved by the Daily Mirror’s campaign to change the organ donation law.

There are more than 5,000 people on organ transplant waiting lists, but a shortage of donors means that in recent years only 3,500 of them get the life-saving treatments they need.

So that everybody whose life could be saved by an organ transplant can have the gift of life – from one human being to another.

The law has already been changed in Wales under Carwyn Jones’s leadership, and today I make the commitment a Labour government will do the same for England.

In the last couple of days John McDonnell and Rebecca Long-Bailey have set out how we are going to develop the economic plans in our manifesto to ensure that sustainable growth and good jobs reach ALL parts of the country.

So that no community or region is held back.

To establish regional development banks,. to invest in an industrial strategy for every region.

But the challenges of the future go beyond the need to turn our backs on an economic model that has failed to invest and upgrade our economy.

We need urgently to face the challenge of automation – robotics that could make so much of contemporary work redundant.

That is a threat in the hands of the greedy, but it’s a huge opportunity if it’s managed in the interests of society as a whole.

We won’t reap the full rewards of these great technological advances if they’re monopolised to pile up profits for a few.

But if they’re publicly managed – to share the benefits – they can be the gateway for a new settlement between work and leisure. A springboard for expanded creativity and culture.

The tide of automation and technological change means re-training and management of the workforce must be centre-stage in the coming years.

So Labour will build an education and training system from the cradle to the grave that empowers people.

Not one that shackles them with debt.

That’s why we will establish a National Education Service which will include at its core free tuition for all college courses, technical and vocational training so that no one is held back by costs and everyone has the chance to learn.

That will give millions a fair chance.

Lifelong learning for all is essential in the economy of the future.

The huge shift of employment that will take place under the impact of automation must be planned and managed.

It demands the reskilling of millions of people. Only Labour will deliver that.

As Angela Rayner said yesterday, our National Education Service will be run on clear principles: universal, free and empowering.

This is central to our socialism for the 21st century, for the many not the few.

During the election I visited Derwentside College in the constituency of our new MP Laura Pidcock – one of dozens of great new MPs breathing life and energy into Parliament.

They offer adult courses in everything from IT to beauty therapy, from engineering to childcare.

I met apprentice construction workers. They stand to benefit from Labour’s £250 billion National Transformation Fund, building the homes people need and the new transport, energy and digital infrastructure our country needs.

But changing our economy to make it work for the whole country can’t take place in isolation from changing how our country is run.

For people to take control of their own lives, our democracy needs to break out of Westminster into all parts of our society and economy where power is unaccountable.

All around the world democracy is facing twin threats:

One is the emergence of an authoritarian nationalism that is intolerant and belligerent.

The second is apparently more benign, but equally insidious.

It is that the big decisions should be left to the elite.

That political choices can only be marginal and that people are consumers first, and only citizens a distant second.

Democracy has to mean much more than that.

It must mean listening to people outside of election time. Not just the rich and powerful who are used to calling the shots, but to those at the sharp end who really know what’s going on.

Like the Greater Manchester police officer who warned Theresa May two years ago that cuts to neighbourhood policing were risking people’s lives and security.

His concerns were dismissed as “crying wolf”.

Like the care workers sacked when they blow the whistle on abuse of the elderly..

Or the teachers intimidated when they speak out about the lack of funding for our children’s schools.

Or the doctors who are ignored when they warn that the NHS crumbling before our eyes, or blow the whistle on patient safety.

Labour is fighting for a society not only where rewards are more fairly spread, but where people are listened to more as well by government, their local council, their employer.

Some of the most shocking cases of people not being listened to must surely be the recent revelations of widespread child sex abuse.

Young people – and most often young working class women – have been subjected to the most repugnant abuse.

The response lies in making sure that everybody’s voice must be heard no matter who they are or what their background.

The kind of democracy that we should be aiming for is one where people have a continuing say in how society is run, how their workplace is run, how their local schools or hospitals are run.

That means increasing the public accountability and democratization of local services that Andrew Gwynne was talking about on Monday.

It means democratically accountable public ownership for the natural monopolies, with new participatory forms of management, as Rebecca Long-Bailey has been setting out.

It means employees given their voice at work, with unions able to represent them properly, freed of undemocratic fetters on their right to organize.

I promised you two years ago that we would do politics differently.

It’s not always been easy.

There’s quite a few who prefer politics the old way.

But let me say it again. We will do politics differently.

And the vital word there is “we”.

Not just leaders saying things are different, but everyone having the chance to shape our democracy.

Our rights as citizens are as important as our rights as consumers.

Power devolved to the community, not monopolised in Westminster and Whitehall.

Now let’s take it a stage further – make public services accountable to communities.

Business accountable to the public, and politicians truly accountable to those we serve.

Let the next Labour government will transform Britain by genuinely putting power in the hands of the people, the creative, compassionate and committed people of our country.

Both at home and abroad, what underpins our politics is our compassion and our solidarity with people.

Including those now recovering from hurricane damage in the Caribbean, floods in South Asia and Texas. and earthquakes in Mexico.

Our interdependence as a planet could not be more obvious.

The environmental crisis in particular demands a common global response.

That is why President Trump’s threats to withdraw from the Paris Climate Change Treaty are so alarming.

There is no contradiction between meeting our climate change commitments and investing to build a strong economy based on high skill industries.

In fact the opposite is the case.

Action on climate change is a powerful spur to investment in the green industries and jobs of the future. So long as it is managed as part of a sustainable transition.

We know, tragically, that terrorism also recognises no boundaries.

We have had five shocking examples in Britain this year alone.

Two during the course of the General Election campaign and one in my own constituency.

Both Andy Burnham and Sadiq Khan – the mayors of Manchester and London – played a crucial role in bringing people together in the aftermath of those brutal attacks.

The targeting of our democracy, of teenage girls at a pop concert, of people enjoying a night out, worshippers outside a mosque, commuters going to work – all of these are horrific crimes.

And we all unite in both condemning the perpetrators and in our support for the emergency and security services, working to keep us safe.

But we also know that terrorism is thriving in a world our governments have helped to shape, with its failed states, military interventions and occupations where millions are forced to flee conflict or hunger.

We have to do better and swap the knee-jerk response of another bombing campaign for long-term help to solve conflicts rather than fuel them.

And we must put our values at the heart of our foreign policy.

Democracy and human rights are not an optional extra to be deployed selectively.

So we cannot be silent at the cruel Saudi war in Yemen, while continuing to supply arms to Saudi Arabia, or the crushing of democracy in Egypt or Bahrain, or the tragic loss of life in Congo.

And I say this today to Aung San Suu Kyi – a champion of democracy and human rights – : end the violence now against the Rohingya in Myanmar and allow the UN and international aid agencies in to Rakhine state.

The Rohingya have suffered for too long!

We should stand firm for peaceful solutions to international crises.

Let’s tone down the rhetoric, and back dialogue and negotiations to wind down the deeply dangerous confrontation over the Korean Peninsula.

And I appeal to the UN secretary general, Antonio Guterres to use the authority of his office and go to Washington and Pyongyang to kick start that essential process of dialogue.

And let’s give real support to end the oppression of the Palestinian people, the 50-year occupation and illegal settlement expansion and move to a genuine two-state solution of the Israel-Palestine conflict.

Britain’s voice needs to be heard independently in the world.

We must be a candid friend to the United States, now more than ever.

The values we share are not served by building walls, banning immigrants on the basis of religion, polluting the planet, or pandering to racism.

And let me say frankly – the speech made by the US President to the United Nations last week was deeply disturbing.

It threatened war and talked of tearing up international agreements.

Devoid of concern for human rights or universal values, it was not the speech of a world leader.

Our government has a responsibility. It cannot meekly go along with this dangerous course.

If the special relationship means anything, it must mean that we can say to Washington: that way is the wrong way.

That’s clearly what’s needed in the case of Bombardier where thousands of jobs are now at stake.

A Prime Minister betting our economic future on a deregulated trade deal with the US might want to explain how 220% tariffs are going to boost our exports.

So let Britain’s voice be heard loud and clear for peace, justice and cooperation.

Conference, it is often said that elections can only be won from the centre ground.

And in a way that’s not wrong – so long as it’s clear that the political centre of gravity isn’t fixed or unmovable, nor is it where the establishment pundits like to think it is.

It shifts as people’s expectations and experiences change and political space is opened up.

Today’s centre ground is certainly not where it was twenty or thirty years ago.

A new consensus is emerging from the great economic crash and the years of austerity, when people started to find political voice for their hopes for something different and better.

2017 may be the year when politics finally caught up with the crash of 2008 – because we offered people a clear choice.

We need to build a still broader consensus around the priorities we set in the election, making the case for both compassion and collective aspiration.

This is the real centre of gravity of British politics.

We are now the political mainstream.

Our manifesto and our policies are popular because that is what most people in our country actually want, not what they’re told they should want.

And that is why Labour is on the way back in Scotland becoming once again the champion of social justice.

Thank you Kezia. And whoever next leads Scottish Labour – our unifying socialist message will continue to inspire both south and north of the border.

That is why our party now has around twice the membership of all the other parties put together.

Conference, we have left the status quo behind, but we must make the change we seek credible and effective.

We have left our own divisions behind. But we must make our unity practical. We know we are campaign-ready.

We must be government-ready too. Our aspirations matched by our competence.

During the election campaign I met and listened to people in every part of the country.

Struggling single parents, young people held back by lack of opportunity.

Pensioners anxious about health and social care, public servants trying to keep services together.

Low and middle earners, self-employed and employed, facing insecurity and squeezed living standards.

But hopeful that things could change, and that Labour could make a difference.

Many hadn’t voted before, or not for years past.

But they put their faith in our party.

We offered an antidote to apathy and despair.

Let everyone understand – We will not let you down.

Because we listen to you, because we believe in you.

Labour can and will deliver a Britain for the many not just the few.

Thank you.

Jeremy Corbyn – 2017 Speech at Church House, London

Below is the text of the speech made by Jeremy Corbyn, the Leader of the Opposition, at Church House in London on 19 April 2017.

The dividing lines in this election could not be clearer from the outset. It is the Conservatives, the party of privilege and the richest, versus the Labour Party, the party that is standing up for working people to improve the lives of all.

It is the establishment versus the people and it is our historic duty to make sure that the people prevail. A duty for all of us here today, the duty of every Labour MP, a duty for our half a million members – including the 2,500 who have joined in the last 24 hours.

Much of the media and establishment are saying that this election is a foregone conclusion.

They think there are rules in politics, which if you don’t follow by doffing your cap to powerful people, accepting that things can’t really change, then you can’t win.

But of course, they do not want us to win. Because when we win it is the people, not the powerful, who win.

The nurse, the teacher, the small trader, the carer, the builder, the office worker, the student, the carer win. We all win.

It is the establishment that complains I don’t play the rules: by which they mean their rules. We can’t win, they say, because we don’t play their game.

We don’t fit in their cosy club. We ‘re not obsessed with the tittle-tattle of Westminster or Brussels. We don’t accept that it is natural for Britain to be governed by a ruling elite, the City and the tax-dodgers, and we don’t accept that the British people just have to take what they’re given, that they don’t deserve better.

And in a sense, the establishment and their followers in the media are quite right. I don’t play by their rules. And if a Labour Government is elected on 8 June, then we won’t play by their rules either.

They are yesterday’s rules, set by failed political and corporate elites we should be consigning to the past.

It is these rules that have allowed a cosy cartel to rig the system in favour of a few powerful and wealthy individuals and corporations.

It is a rigged system set up by the wealth extractors, for the wealth extractors.

But things can, and they will, change.

Britain needs a Labour government that is prepared to fight for people in every part of the country, our towns, villages, as well as big cities.

A Labour government that isn’t scared to take on the cosy cartels that are hoarding this country’s wealth for themselves. It needs a government that will use that wealth to invest in people’s lives in every community to build a better future for every person who lives here.

Because the Conservatives, drunk on a failed ideology, are hell bent on cutting every public service they get their hands on, and they will use all of the divide-and-rule tricks of the Lynton Crosby trade to keep their rigged system intact.

Don’t be angry at the privatisers profiting from our public services, they whisper, be angry instead at the migrant worker just trying to make a better life.

Don’t be angry at the government ministers running down our schools and hospitals, they tell us, be angry instead at the disabled woman or the unemployed man.

It is the rigged economy the Tories are protecting that Labour is committed to challenging. We will not let the elite extract wealth from the pockets of ordinary working people any longer.

So many people in modern Britain do what seems like the right thing to do. They get jobs, they spend all day working hard, they save to buy their own home, they raise children, they look after elderly or sick relatives. And yet, at the end of it, they get almost nothing left over as a reward.

Compare their lives with the multinational corporations and the gilded elite who hide their money in the Cayman Islands because the Conservatives are too morally bankrupt to take them on.

Labour in power will end this racket and make sure that everybody pays their taxes which fund our public services.

We will overturn this rigged system. For all Theresa May’s warm words on the steps of Downing Street the Conservatives will never do any such thing.

Seven years of broken promises show us that on pay, the deficit, the NHS, our schools, our environment.

It was their wealthy friends in the City who crashed our economy. How dare they ruin the economy with their recklessness and greed and then punish those who had nothing to do with it? It was not pensioners, nurses, the low or averaged paid workers or carers who crashed the economy.

The Conservatives boast of record numbers of jobs. But what good is that if people in work are getting poorer and don’t share in the profits of that economy while the Conservatives look after the wealthy few? Our offer is to tackle elderly poverty and loneliness, invest in our economy, NHS and schools, to improve rights at work and the ten pound living wage.

Britain is the sixth richest economy in the world. The people of Britain must share in that wealth.

If I were Southern Rail or Philip Green, I’d be worried about a Labour Government.

If I were Mike Ashley or the CEO of a tax avoiding multinational corporation, I’d want to see a Tory victory.

Why? Because those are the people who are monopolising the wealth that should be shared by each and every one of us in this country. Everyone, and I mean everyone, has a contribution to make and a life to lead. Poverty and homelessness are a disaster for the individual and a loss to all of us.

It is wealth that should belong to the majority and not a tiny minority.

Labour is the party that will put the interests of the majority first, while the Tories only really care about those who already have so much.

That is why we will prove the establishment experts wrong and change the direction of this election. Because the British people know that they are the true wealth creators, held back by a system rigged for the wealth extractors.

Theresa May will insist that this is an election about Brexit. She will try to downplay the issues that affect people’s lives every day and instead turn the election into an ego trip about her own failing leadership and the machinations of the coming negotiations in Brussels.

It is only Labour that will focus on what kind of country we want to have after Brexit.

In the coming weeks Labour will lay out our policies to unlock opportunities for every single person in this country.

We will focus on giving people real control over their own lives and make sure that everybody reaps a just reward for the work that they do.

We will no longer allow those at the top to leach off of those who bust their guts on zero hours contracts or those forced to make sacrifices to pay their mortgage or their rent.

Instead of the country’s wealth being hidden in tax havens we will put it in the hands of the people of Britain as they are the ones who earned it.

In this election Labour will lead the movement to make that change.

We will build a new economy, worthy of the 21st century and we will build a country for the many not the few.

Jeremy Corbyn – 2017 Easter Message

Below is the text of the Easter Message from Jeremy Corbyn, the Leader of the Opposition, from 17 April 2017.

I would like to wish everyone a happy Easter this weekend.

As millions mark Easter around the world, it’s a time to reflect on the challenges we face both at home and internationally – and what our response should be.

We hear painful stories every day, of homelessness, poverty or crisis in our health service – or across the world, of the devastating consequences of war and conflict, including millions forced to become refugees.

It would be easy to retreat into our private lives because the challenges seem overwhelming, or allow ourselves to be divided and blame others. But we need to respond to these problems head on, through action and support for social justice, peace and reconciliation.

Those principles are at the heart of Christianity. And Christians throughout the world will this weekend be remembering Jesus’s example of love and sacrifice, and the Easter message of redemption and peace.

At a time of growing conflict, that message of peace could not have more urgency throughout the world.

I meet Christians, and others of all faiths and none on a daily basis, who share and live those ideals: people who give their time for others, to run food banks, protect the vulnerable, look after the sick, the elderly and our young people.

That spirit of respect for each other, peace and equality is one we can all share. So to all Christians and those of all faiths and none, have a happy and peaceful Easter.

Jeremy Corbyn – 2017 Statement on Westminster Terror Attack

Below is the text of the statement made by Jeremy Corbyn, the Leader of the Opposition, on 23 March 2017.

What happened yesterday was an appalling atrocity.

Today, we are united by our humanity, by our democratic values and by that human impulse for solidarity to stand together in times of darkness and adversity.

I express my condolences to the family and friends of PC Keith Palmer, who gave his life yesterday in defence of the public and our democracy – and to the loved ones of those still in a critical condition including the French schoolchildren visiting our capital from Concarneau in Brittany. The injured include people of ten nationalities. Innocent people were killed yesterday walking across Westminster Bridge as many millions of Londoners and tourists have done before them.

I thank all the dedicated NHS staff working to save lives, including those from St Thomas’ Hospital who rushed out to help those in need. We are grateful for the public service workers who yesterday, today and every day they pull on their uniforms.

It behoves us all not to rush to judgement, but to wait for the police to establish the facts. We must stay united in our communities and not to allow fear or the voices of hatred to divide or cower us.

It is by demonstrating our values of solidarity, community, humanity and love that we will defeat the poison and division of hatred.

Jeremy Corbyn – 2017 Speech on Brexit

Below is the text of the speech made by Jeremy Corbyn, the Leader of the Opposition, in Peterborough on 10 January 2017.

Thank you for that introduction.

Whether you voted to Leave or to Remain, you voted for a better future for Britain.

One thing is clear, the Tories cannot deliver that. So today I want to set how Labour will deliver that vision of a better Britain.

This government is in disarray over Brexit.

As the Prime Minister made clear herself they didn’t plan for it before the referendum and they still don’t have a plan now.

I voted and campaigned to remain and reform as many of you may know I was not uncritical of the European Union. It has many failings.

Some people argued that we should have a second referendum. That case was put to our party’s membership last summer and defeated.

Britain is now leaving the European Union. And Britain can be better off after Brexit. But that’s far from inevitable and it certainly won’t happen with a government that stands by whilst wages and salaries are driven down, industry is hollowed out and public services are cut to the point of breakdown.

Because while the European Union has many problems so does Britain in the hands of Theresa May after six years of Conservative misrule.

Our social care system is failing to provide essential care for people with disabilities and over a million of our elderly people.

The NHS is in record deficit; nearly 4 million people are on waiting lists, the Red Cross is describing the state of our emergency health and social care as a ‘humanitarian crisis’.

Our jobs market is being turned into a sea of insecurity, six million workers in Britain earning less than the living wage, nearly a million people on zero hours contracts, record numbers of people in work living in poverty while in fat cat Britain, the chief executives had already received more than most people will earn all year by the third day of January.

My point is this, I don’t trust this government with social care, or with the NHS or with the labour market.

So do I trust them to make a success of Brexit? Not remotely.

Only a Labour government, determined to reshape the economy so that it works for all, in every part of the country, can make Brexit work for Britain.

And there can be no question of giving Theresa May’s Tories a free pass in the Brexit negotiations to entrench and take still further their failed free market policies in a post-Brexit Britain.

The Tory Brexiteers , whose leaders are now in the government and their Ukip allies had no more of a plan for a Brexit vote than the Tory remainers, like Theresa May.

They did however promise that Brexit would guarantee funding for the NHS, to the tune of £350 million a week. It was on the side of Boris Johnson’s bus.

What’s happened to that promise now the NHS and social care are in serious crisis? It’s already been ditched.
And it’s not just on the NHS. We have had no answers from the government about any of their plans or objectives for these complex Brexit negotiations.

At no point since the Second World War has Britain’s ruling elite so recklessly put the country in such an exposed position without a plan.

As a result they are now reduced to repeating ‘Brexit means Brexit’. They are unfit to negotiate Brexit.

That is why Labour has demanded the government come to Parliament and set out their plan before they present it to Brussels and explain what they want to achieve for our country.

But in the glaring absence of a government plan Labour also believes it’s time to spell out more clearly what we believe the country’s Brexit objectives should be.

People voted for Brexit on the promise that Britain outside the European Union could be a better place for all its citizens. Whatever their colour or creed. A chance to regain control over our economy, our democracy and people’s lives.

But beyond vague plans to control borders the only concrete commitment the government has so far made is to protect the financial interests in the City of London. Though maybe that’s hardly surprising from a government that has already slashed the bank levy and corporation tax.

In the last budget there was not a penny extra for the NHS or social care but under the Tories there’s always billions available for giveaways to the richest.

As far as Labour is concerned, the referendum result delivered a clear message.

First, that Britain must leave the EU and bring control of our democracy and our economy closer to home.

Second, that people would get the resources they were promised to rebuild the NHS.

Third, that people have had their fill of an economic system and an establishment that works only for the few, not for the many.

And finally, that their concerns about immigration policy would be addressed.

Labour accepts those challenges that you, the voters, gave us.

Unlike the Tories, Labour will insist on a Brexit that works not just for City interests but in the interests of us all.

That puts health and social care, decent jobs and living standards first and a better deal for young people and the areas of this country that have been left behind for too long.

First, we will open the way to rebuilding our NHS by ending the under-funding and privatisation of health care.

Leaving the EU won’t free up the £350m a week that Boris Johnson claimed but savings in EU contributions could help close the gap.

And we will reject pressure to privatise public services as part of any Brexit settlement. Just as we oppose the attempt to give special legal privileges to corporate interests as part of the EU’s CETA or TTIP trade deals.

This government could have given the NHS the funding it needs but it has chosen not to. Their tax giveaways to the very richest and to big business hand back £70 billion between now and 2022.

That is more of a priority for the Tories than elderly people neglected in their homes, patients dying on trolleys or millions waiting in pain to get the treatment they need.

Labour created the NHS, and it is only safe under a Labour government. We will give the NHS the funding it needs. The British people voted to re-finance the NHS – and we will deliver it.

Second, we will push to maintain full access to the European single market to protect living standards and jobs.

But we will also press to repatriate powers from Brussels for the British government to develop a genuine industrial strategy essential for the economy of the future, and so that no community is left behind.

Tory governments have hidden behind EU state aid rules because they don’t want to intervene. They did so again last year when the steel industry was in trouble. Other governments in Europe acted and saved their industry, the Tory government here sat back.

But EU rules can also be a block on the action that’s needed to support our economy, decent jobs and living standards.

Labour will use state aid powers in a drive to build a new economy, based on new technology and the green industries of the future.

That’s why Labour has set out proposals for a National Investment Bank with regional investment banks that will decide the priorities for their areas. A massive programme of investment that will be needed to rebuild regional economies.

This country is far too centralized. So we will take back powers over regional policy. And instead of such decisions being made in Brussels or in London, we will make sure they taken locally wherever possible. Taking back real control and putting power and resources right into the heart of local communities to target investment where it’s needed.

Third, we will use the huge spending leverage of taxpayer-funded services to massively expand the number of proper apprenticeships.

All firms with a government or council contract over £250,000 will be required to pay tax in the UK and train young people.

No company will receive taxpayer-funded contracts if it, or its parent company, is headquartered in a tax haven.

And we will not buy outsourced public services, such as care for the elderly, from companies whose owners and executives are creaming off profits to stuff their pockets at the expense of the workforce and the public purse.

Finally, a Labour Brexit would take back control over our jobs market which has been seriously damaged by years of reckless deregulation.

During the referendum campaign, many people expressed deep concerns about unregulated migration from the EU.

In many sectors of the economy, from IT to health and social care, migrant workers make an important contribution to our common prosperity, and in many parts of the country public services depend on migrant labour.

This government has been saying it will reduce migration to the tens of thousands. Theresa May as Home Secretary set an arbitrary political target knowing full well it would not be met.

They inflamed the issue of immigration. They put immense strain on public services with six years of extreme cuts and then blamed migrants for the pressure caused by Tory austerity.

And last week a Government minister who voted ‘Leave’ told an employers’ conference, “don’t worry, we’ll still let you bring in cheap EU labour”.
Unlike the Tories, Labour will not offer false promises on immigration targets or sow division by scapegoating migrants because we know where that leads. The worrying rise in race hate crime and division we have seen in recent months and how the issue of immigration can be used as a proxy to abuse or intimidate minority communities.

Labour is not wedded to freedom of movement for EU citizens as a point of principle, but I don’t want that to be misinterpreted, nor do we rule it out.

When it comes to border controls, we are proud to say we will meet our international obligations to refugees fleeing wars and persecution.

To those EU citizens who are already here, we will guarantee your rights.

And we continue to welcome international students who come to study in this country.

We cannot afford to lose full access to the European markets on which so many British businesses and jobs depend.

Changes to the way migration rules operate from the EU will be part of the negotiations.

Labour supports fair rules and the reasonable management of migration as part of the post-Brexit relationship with the EU, while putting jobs and living standards first in the negotiations.

At the same time, taking action against undercutting of pay and conditions, closing down cheap labour loopholes, banning exclusive advertising of jobs abroad and strengthening workplace protections would have the effect of reducing numbers of EU migrant workers in the most deregulated sectors, regardless of the final Brexit deal.

Of course migration has put a strain on public services in some areas that’s why Labour would restore the Migrant Impact Fund that the Tories scrapped.

Sarah Champion is leading for Labour on our policies to ensure better integration and more community cohesion and part of that again will be about restoring funding for English language lessons.

Let’s not forget it was this Tory government that slashed funding for learning English as a second language. As we’ve seen with the Prime Minister talking about the need to strengthen mental health care, while cutting funding by 8 per cent it seems the government’s second language is hypocrisy.

It is the ripping up of workplace protections and trade union rights that has allowed unscrupulous employers to exploit both migrant and British labour, and help to keep pay low, and drive down conditions for everyone.

But let’s be clear, public services are not under pressure primarily because of immigration – especially since many migrant workers keep those public services going.

They are under pressure because this Tory government has cut them to fund tax break after tax break to the super rich and big business.
That is the Tory game – low taxes for the rich, low pay for the rest, underfund public services, and find someone to blame , It’s brutal and it’s not working.

Labour will break with this failed model and offer solutions to problems, not someone to blame.

Labour will demand that the Brexit negotiations give us the power to intervene decisively to prevent workers, from here or abroad, being used and exploited to undermine pay and conditions at work.

We need a drive to provide British people with the skills necessary to take up the new jobs which a Labour government and the new economy will generate. I’ve already set out at the CBI and TUC conferences that this means asking companies to pay a bit more in tax to fund more and better access to education and skills training, and government contractors always providing decent skilled apprenticeships.

We will end the race to the bottom in pay, working conditions and job insecurity, setting up a new Ministry of Labour to get a grip on the anything goes jobs market free-for-all.

Labour will ensure all workers have equal rights at work from day one – and require collective bargaining agreements in key sectors in a properly regulated labour market, so that workers cannot be undercut.

That will bring an end to the unscrupulous use of agency labour and bogus self-employment, to stop undercutting and to ensure every worker has a secure job with secure pay, that’s why we’ll set the minimum wage at the level of the living wage, expected to be £10 per hour by 2020.

Those changes should be made to benefit the whole country.

But while we tackle low pay at the bottom, we also have to address the excess that drives that poverty pay that leaves millions of people in poverty even though they work.

In the 1920s, J.P. Morgan, the Wall Street banker limited salaries to 20 times that of junior employees.

Another advocate of pay ratios was David Cameron. His government proposed a 20:1 pay ratio to limit sky-high pay in the public sector and now all salaries higher than £150,000 must be signed off by the Cabinet Office.

Labour will go further and extend that to any company that is awarded a government contract.

A 20:1 ratio means someone earning the living wage, just over £16,000 a year, would permit an executive to be earning nearly £350,000. It cannot be right that if companies are getting public money that that can be creamed off by a few at the top.

But there is a wider point too. 20 years ago the top bosses of the FTSE 100 companies earned just under 50 times their average worker, today that figure is now 130 times. Last year alone, the top bosses got a 10 per cent pay rise, far higher than those doing the work in the shops, in the call centres, in the warehouses.

So what can we do?

… We could allow consumers to judge for themselves, with a government-backed kitemark for those companies that have agreed pay ratios between the pay of the highest and lowest earners with a recognised trade union.

… We could ask for executive pay to be signed off by remuneration committees on which workers have a majority.

… We could ensure higher earners pay their fair share by introducing a higher rate of income tax on the highest 5 percent or 1 percent of incomes.

… We could offer lower rates of corporation tax for companies that don’t pay anyone more than a certain multiple of the pay of the lowest earner.

There are many options. But what we cannot accept is a society in which a few earn the in two and a bit days, what a nurse, a shop worker, a teacher do in a year. That cannot be right.

This is not about limiting aspiration or penalising success, it’s about recognising that success is a collective effort and rewards must be shared.

We cannot have the CEO paying less tax than the cleaner and pretending they are worth thousands times more than the lowest paid staff.

So this is Labour’s vision for Britain after Brexit.
Labour will not block the referendum vote when the time comes in Parliament, we will vote for Article 50.

But as the Opposition we will ensure the government is held to account for its negotiating demands.

At the moment they are in total disarray, on Brexit, on the NHS and social care, on the pay in your pocket.

Labour will build a better Britain out of Brexit.

That will start with the refinancing of the NHS and the creation of a more equal country, in which power and wealth is more fairly shared amongst our communities. A genuinely inclusive society with strong and peaceful relations with the rest of the world.

This is Labour’s New Year pledge to the British people.

Jeremy Corbyn – 2016 Speech at Labour Party Conference

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Below is the text of the speech made by Jeremy Corbyn, the Leader of the Labour Party, to the party’s conference being held in Birmingham on 28 September 2016.

Thank you for that introduction. And how brilliant it is to see the hall here in Liverpool, absolutely packed for the Labour conference, well I say it’s packed but Virgin Trains assure me there are 800 empty seats.

Either way Conference, it’s a huge pleasure to be holding our party’s annual gathering here in this fantastic city that has shaped our country, our economy, our culture and our music.

Liverpool and its people have always been central to the Labour party and our movement. And I know some people say campaigns and protests don’t change things. But the Hillsborough families have shown just how wrong that is.

It’s taken twenty-seven years but those families have, with great courage and dignity, finally got some truth and justice for the ninety-six who died. And I want to pay tribute to all the families and campaigners, for their solidarity, their commitment and their love.

We must learn from them so we promise those campaigning for Orgreave, for Shrewsbury, for the thousands of workers blacklisted for being trade unionists that we will support your battles for truth and justice and when we return to government we will make sure that you have both.

Because winning justice for all and changing society for the benefit of all is at the heart of what Labour is about.

So yes, our party is about campaigning and it’s about protest too.

But most of all it’s about winning power in local and national government, to deliver the real change our country so desperately needs.

That’s why the central task of the whole Labour party, must be to rebuild trust and support to win the next general election and form the next government. That is the government I am determined to lead, to win power to change Britain for the benefit of working people.

But every one of us in this hall today knows that we will only get there if we work together. And I think it’s fair to say after what we’ve been through these past few months that hasn’t always been exactly the case.

Those months have been a testing time for the whole party, first the horrific murder of Jo Cox, followed by the shock of the referendum result and then the tipping over of divisions in parliament, into the leadership contest that ended last Saturday.

Jo’s killing was a hate-filled attack on democracy itself that shocked the whole country. Jo Cox didn’t just believe in loving her neighbor, she believed in loving her neighbour’s neighbor, that every life counted the same.

And as Jo said in her maiden speech as an MP “we have far more in common with each other than things that divide us”. Let that essential truth guide us as we come together again to challenge this Tory Government and its shaky grip on power.

We have also lost good MPs like Michael Meacher and Harry Harpham. They were Labour through and through, passionate campaigners for a better world.

And let me pay particular tribute to those parliamentary colleagues who stepped forward in the summer to fill the gaps in the shadow cabinet and ensure that Labour could function as an effective opposition in parliament.

They didn’t seek office, but they stepped up when their party and in fact the country needed them to serve. They all deserve the respect and gratitude of our party and movement. And this conference should thank them today, they are our future.

We’ve just had our second leadership election within a year. It had its fraught moments of course, not only for Owen Smith and me , and I hope we don’t make a habit of it.

But there have also been upsides. Over 150,000 new members joined our party. Young rising stars have shone on the front bench and we found that the party is more united on policy than we would ever have guessed.

I am honoured to have been re-elected by our party a second time with an even larger mandate. But we all have lessons to learn and a responsibility to do things better and work together more effectively. I will lead in learning those lessons and I’d like to thank Owen, for the campaign and his work as shadow work and pensions secretary.

And all the Labour Party Staff and my own team for their brilliant work.

One lesson is, that there is a responsibility on all of us to take care with our rhetoric, respect democratic decisions, respect our differences and respect each other. We know that robust debate has at times spilled over into abuse and hate around our party, including misogyny and anti-Semitism, especially on social media.

That is utterly unacceptable. Our party must be a safe and welcoming space for everybody and we will continue to take firm action against abuse and intimidation.

And let me be absolutely clear, anti-Semitism is an evil, it led to the worst crimes of the 20th century, every one of us has a responsibility to ensure that it is never allowed to fester in our society again. This party always has and always will fight against prejudice and hatred of Jewish people with every breath in its body.

We meet this year as the largest political party in western Europe with over half a million members campaigning in every community in Britain.

More people have joined our party in the last twenty months than in the previous twenty years. We have more of our fellow citizens in our party than all the others put together.

Some may see that as a threat. But I see it as a vast democratic resource. Our hugely increased membership is part of a movement that can take Labour’s message into every community, to win support for the election of a Labour government. Each and every one of these new members is welcome in our party.

And after a ten year absence, we welcome back the Fire Brigades Union to our party and to conference. We are reuniting the Labour family.

And over the past year, we’ve shown what Labour can do when the party stands together.

At conference a year ago, I launched our campaign against cuts to tax credits and we succeeded in knocking this government back.

This year, three million families are over £1,000 better off because Labour stood together.

In the Budget, the government tried to take away billions from disabled people but we defeated them …

We have won all four by-elections we’ve contested. In the May elections, we overtook the Tories to become the largest party nationally. We won back London with a massive win for Sadiq Khan the first Muslim mayor of a western capital city.

And we won the Bristol mayor for the first time, Marvin Rees, the first black mayor in any European city. And of course we also won the mayoralty in Salford and here in Liverpool.

That’s the road of advance we have to return to if we’re going to challenge the Tories for power and turn the huge growth in the Labour party into the electoral support we need across Britain.

There’s no doubt my election as Labour leader a year ago. And re-election this month grew out of a thirst for a new kind of politics, and a conviction that the old way of running the economy and the country, isn’t delivering for more and more people.

It’s not about me of course, or unique to Britain but across Europe, North America and elsewhere, people are fed up with a so-called free market system, that has produced grotesque inequality stagnating living standards for the many calamitous foreign wars without end and a political stitch-up which leaves the vast majority of people shut out of power.

Since the crash of 2008, the demand for an alternative and an end to counter-productive austerity has led to the rise of new movements and parties in one country after another.

In Britain it’s happened in the heart of traditional politics, in the Labour party which is something we should be extremely proud of. It’s exactly what Labour was founded for to be the voice of the many of social justice and progressive change from the bottom up.

But it also means it’s no good harking back to the tired old economic and political fixes of twenty years ago because they won’t work anymore. The old model is broken. We’re in a new era that demands a politics and economics that meets the needs of our own time.

Even Theresa May gets it, that people want change. That’s why she stood on the steps of Downing Street and talked about the inequalities and burning injustices in today’s Britain.

She promised a country: “that works not for a privileged few but for every one of us”.

But even if she manages to talk the talk, she can’t walk the walk.

This isn’t a new government, it’s David Cameron’s government repackaged with progressive slogans but with a new harsh rightwing edge, taking the country backwards and dithering before the historic challenges of Brexit.

Who seriously believes that the Tories could ever stand up to the privileged few? They are the party of the privileged few, funded by the privileged few, for the benefit of the privileged few.

This is a party, after all that now wants to force through an undemocratic Boundary Review based on an out-of-date version of the electoral register with nearly two million voters missing.

They’ve dressed up as a bid to cut the cost of politics by abolishing fifty MPs, but the £12million savings are dwarfed by the expense of the 260 peers David Cameron appointed at a cost of £34million a year. It’s nothing but a cynical attempt to gerrymander the next election.

And this is a prime minister who was elevated to her job without a single vote being cast after a pantomime farce which saw one leading Tory after another falling on their swords.

When I meet Theresa May across the dispatch box, I know that only one of us has been elected to the office they hold, by the votes of a third of a million people.

In any case, the Tories are simply incapable of responding to the breakdown of the old economic model. Because that failed model is in their political DNA.

It’s what they deliver every time they’re in government. Tory governments deregulate, they outsource and privatise they stand by as inequality grows.

They’ve cut taxes for the privileged few sold off our national assets to them, always on the cheap and turned a blind eye to their chronic tax avoidance.

They’re so committed to the interests of the very richest they recruited Sir Phillip Green into government as something called an efficiency tsar.

Well, government might be a bit more efficient if the super-rich like Sir Phillip actually paid their taxes.

When government steps back there are consequences for every one of us.

Look what’s happened to housing under the Tories:

housebuilding has fallen to its lowest level since the 1920s;

home ownership is falling as more people are priced out of the market;

evictions and homelessness go up every year;

council homes are sold off without being replaced.

And another consequence is that we’re paying over £9 billion a year to private landlords in housing benefit.

Instead of spending public money on building council housing, we’re subsidising private landlords. That’s wasteful, inefficient, and poor government.

So Labour will, as Teresa Pearce said, build over a million new homes at least half of them council houses and we will control private rents, so we can give every British family that basic human right – a decent home.

It’s the same in the jobs market. Without proper employment regulation, there’s been an explosion of temporary, insecure jobs nearly one million people on zero hour contracts.

There are now six million working people earning less than the living wage and poverty among those in work is at record levels.

That didn’t happen by accident, the Tories have torn up employment rights and deliberately tried to weaken the organisations that get people justice at work the trade unions.

Of course trade unions are not taking this lying down. Look at the great campaign Unite has waged at Sports Direct, to get justice for exploited workers and hold Mike Ashley to account. That is why Labour will repeal the Trade Union Act and set unions free to do their job.

And we will raise the minimum wage to a real living wage that brings working people out of poverty and we’ll ban zero hours contracts as John McDonnell and Ian Lavery have set out at this conference.

And then there’s the scandal of the privatised railways more public subsidy than under the days of British Rail all going to private firms and more delays more cancellations. And the highest fares in Europe.

That is why the great majority of the British people back Labour’s plan, set out by Andy MacDonald, to take the railways back into public ownership.

But if you want the most spectacular example of what happens, when government steps back, the global banking crash is an object lesson a deregulated industry of out of control greed and speculation that crashed economies across the globe and required the biggest ever government intervention and public bailout in history.

Millions of ordinary families paid the price for that failure. I pledge that Labour will never let a few reckless bankers wreck our economy again.

So Labour is offering solutions. During this summer’s leadership campaign, I set out ten pledges which I believe can be the platform for our party’s programme at the next election.

They have now been put to you and endorsed by this conference.

They lay out the scope of the change we need to see for full employment, a homes guarantee, security at work, a strong public NHS and social care, a National Education Service for all, action on climate change, public ownership and control of our services, a cut in inequality of income and wealth action to secure an equal society and peace and justice at the heart of foreign policy.

Don’t worry, they’re not the Ten Commandments. They will now go to the National Policy Forum and the whole party needs to build on them, refine them and above all take them out to the people of this country.

But those ten pledges the core of the platform on which I was re-elected leader will now form the framework for what Labour will campaign for and for what a Labour government will do.

Together they show the direction of change we are determined to take – and the outline of a programme to rebuild and transform Britain.

They are rooted in traditional Labour values and objectives shaped to meet the challenges of the 21st century. They are values Labour is united on. They reflect the views and aspirations of the majority of our people. And they are values our country can and will support as soon as they are given the chance.

And these pledges are not just words. Already, across the country, Labour councils are putting Labour values into action, in a way that makes a real difference to millions of people, despite cynical government funding cuts that have hit Labour councils five times as hard as Tory-run areas.

Like Nottingham City Council setting up the not-for-profit Robin Hood Energy company to provide affordable energy;

Or Cardiff Bus Company taking 100,000 passengers every day, publicly owned with a passenger panel to hold its directors to account;

Or Preston Council working to favour local procurement, and keep money in the town;

Or Newcastle Council providing free wi-fi in 69 public buildings across the city;

Or Croydon Council which has set up a company to build 1,000 new homes, as Cllr Alison Butler said: “We can no longer afford to sit back and let the market take its course”.

Or Glasgow that has established high quality and flexible workspaces for start-up, high growth companies in dynamic new sectors.

Or here in Liverpool, set to be at the global forefront of a new wave of technology and home to Sensor City, a £15million business hub that aims to create 300 start-up businesses and 1,000 jobs over the next decade.

It is a proud Labour record each and every Labour councilor deserves our heartfelt thanks for the work they do.

But I want to go further because we want local government to go further and put public enterprise back into the heart of our economy and services to meet the needs of local communities, municipal socialism for the 21st century, as an engine of local growth and development.

So today I’m announcing that Labour will remove the artificial local borrowing cap and allow councils to borrow against their housing stock.

That single measure alone would allow them to build an extra 12,000 council homes a year.

Labour councils increasingly have a policy of in-house as the preferred provider and many councils have brought bin collections, cleaners, and IT services back in-house, insourcing privatized contracts to save money for council tax payers and to ensure good terms and conditions for staff.

I have said that Labour will put security at work and employment and union rights from day one centre stage.

But one in six workers now in Britain are now self-employed. They’re right to value their independence but for too many it comes with insecurity and a woeful lack of rights.

So we will review arrangements for self-employed people including social security that self-employed people pay for in their taxes, yet aren’t fully covered by.

And we will ensure that successful innovators have access to the finance necessary to take their ideas to the next level grow their businesses and generate employment.

So as part of our Workplace 2020 review, we will make sure that and our tax and social security arrangements are fit for the 21st century, consulting with self-employed workers and the Federation of Small Businesses.

If the Tories are the party of cuts and short-termism. Labour is the Party of investing for the future.

With the same level of investment as other major economies, we could be so much more unlock so much skill, ingenuity and wealth.

That’s why we’ll establish a National Investment Bank at the heart of our plan to rebuild and transform Britain.

And we will borrow to invest at historically low interest rates, to generate far greater returns. It would be foolish not to, because that investment is expanding the economy and the income it generates for us all in the process.

Even this government, after years of austerity and savage cuts to investment is starting to change its tune.

I am not content with accepting second-class broadband, not content with creaking railways, not content with seeing the US and Germany investing in cutting edge and green technologies, while Britain lags behind.

Last year, for example the Prime Minister promised a universal service obligation for ten megabyte broadband.

But since then the government has done nothing letting down entrepreneurs, businesses and families, especially in rural areas.

That’s why we’ve set out proposals for a National Investment Bank with £500 billion of investment to bring our broadband, our railways, our housing and our energy infrastructure up to scratch.

A country that doesn’t invest is a country that has given up. That has taken the path of managed decline. A Labour government will never accept second best for Britain.

Our country’s history is based on individual ingenuity and collective endeavor.

We are the country of Ada Lovelace, Alan Turing and Tim Berners-Lee, the land of Isambard Kingdom Brunel and Sarah Guppy of George Stephenson and Eric Laithwaite.

The Tories have turned their back on this proud British tradition. They have put privatisation and cutting spending first.

Britain now spends less on research as a share of national income than France, Germany, the US and China. A Labour Government will bring research and development up to three percent of GDP.

Yesterday, Rebecca Long Bailey set out the terms of our Industrial Strategy Review. We need an economy that works for every part of this country so that no community is left behind.

And today I’m asking everyone, businesses, academics, workers, trade unions and anyone who cares about our future prosperity to have your say in that review.

We are a wealthy country – and not just in terms of money.

We are rich in talent, rich in potential.

That’s why we’ve proposed a comprehensive National Education Service at the heart of our programme for government to deliver high quality education for all throughout our lives.

Education has always been a core Labour value from the time of Ellen Wilkinson and before.

And a National Education Service will be an essential part of the 21st century welfare state.

In a rapidly changing economy people need to re-train or upgrade their skills without falling into debt.

Britain already lags behind other in productivity.

Partly that’s about investing in technology and infrastructure.

And partly it’s about investing in people and their skills.

How can we build and expand the sectors of the future without a skilled workforce?

But this Conservative government has slashed adult education budgets taking away opportunities for people to develop their skills and leaving businesses struggling to find the skilled workforce they need to succeed.

So today I am offering business a new settlement. A new deal for Rebuilding Britain.

Under Labour we will provide the investment to rebuild Britain’s infrastructure.

We will fund that investment because it will lead to a more productive economy providing the basis on which our economy and our businesses can thrive, helping to provide over a million good jobs and opportunities for businesses.

But investment in capital must include investment in human capital, the skilled workers needed to make our economy a success.

So this is the deal Labour will offer to business.

To help pay for a National Education Service, we will ask you pay a little more in tax.

We’ve already started to set out some of this, pledging to raise corporation tax by less than 1.5 percent to give an Education Maintenance Allowance to college students and grants to university students so that every young learner can afford to support themselves as they develop skills and get qualifications.

Business shares in economic success and it must contribute to it too.

And I recognise that good businesses deserve a level playing field.

So I also pledge to good businesses that we will clamp down those that dodge their taxes you should not be undercut by those that don’t play by the rules.

There is nothing more unpatriotic than not paying your taxes it is an act of vandalism, damaging our NHS, damaging older people’s social care, damaging younger people’s education. So a Labour government will make shabby tax avoidance a thing of the past.

Labour’s National Education Service is going to be every bit as vital as our National Health Service has become.

And we recognise that education isn’t simply about preparing for the workplace. It’s also about the exploration of knowledge and unlocking the creativity in every human being.

So all school pupils should have the chance to learn an instrument take part in drama and dance and have regular access to a theatre, gallery or museum in their local area.

That’s why we will introduce an arts pupil premium to every primary school in England and Wales and consult on the design and national roll-out to extend this pupil premium to all secondary schools.

This will be a £160million boost for schools to invest in projects that will support cultural activities for schools over the longer-term.

It could hardly be more different to the Tory approach to education. Their only plan is the return of grammar schools, segregation and second class schooling for the majority and what a great job Angela Rayner is doing in opposing them.

So this Saturday 1 October, I want you to take the message into your community that Labour is standing up for education for all.

Grammar Schools are not the only way, the Tories are bringing division back into our society. They are also using the tried-and-tested tricks of demonising and scapegoating to distract from their failures.

Whether it be single mothers, unemployed people, disabled people or migrants, Tory failure is always someone else’s fault.

And those smears have consequences, from children being bullied in school, to attacks in the street – such as the rise of disability hate crime.

I am so proud of this party. In the last year, we stood up to the government on cuts to disabled people’s benefits and cuts to working families tax credits.

And on Monday, our shadow work & pensions secretary Debbie Abrahams announced we would be scrapping the punitive sanctions regime and the degrading Work Capability Assessment.

As politicians, as political activists, as citizens, we must have zero tolerance towards those who whip up hate and division, stand together against racism, Islamophobia and anti-Semitism and defend those being demonised.

It has been shaming to our multicultural society that assaults on migrants have increased sharply since the referendum campaign a campaign that peddled myths and whipped up division.

It isn’t migrants that drive down wages, it’s exploitative employers and the politicians who deregulate the labour market and rip up trade union rights.

It isn’t migrants who put a strain on our NHS, it only keeps going because of the migrant nurses and doctors who come here filling the gaps left by politicians who have failed to invest in training.

It isn’t migrants that have caused a housing crisis; it’s a Tory government that has failed to build homes.

Immigration can certainly put extra pressure on services and that’s why, under Gordon Brown, Labour setup the Migrant Impact Fund to provide extra funding to communities that have the largest rises in population.

What did the Tories do? They abolished it and then they demonise migrants for putting pressure on services.

A Labour government will not offer false promises on immigration as the Tories have done. We will not sow division by fanning the flames of fear. We will tackle the real issues of immigration instead whatever the eventual outcome of the Brexit negotiations and make the changes that are needed.

We will act decisively to end the undercutting of workers’ pay and conditions through the exploitation of migrant labour and agency working which would reduce the number of migrant workers in the process.

And we will ease the pressure on hard pressed public services – services that are struggling to absorb Tory austerity cuts, in communities absorbing new populations.

Labour will reinstate the migrant impact fund, and give extra support to areas of high migration using the visa levy for its intended purpose. And we will add a citizenship application fee levy to boost the fund.

That is the Labour way to tackle social tension investment and assistance, not racism and division.

This party campaigned hard to remain in the European Union. I spoke at rallies from Cornwall to Aberdeenshire for our Labour campaign to remain and reform.

But although most Labour voters backed us we did not convince millions of natural Labour voters especially in those parts of the country left behind.

Left behind by years of neglect under-investment and de-industrialisation.

Now we have to face the future together we are not helped by patronising or lecturing those in our communities who voted to leave. We have to hear their concerns about jobs, about public services, about wages, about immigration, about a future for their children. And we have to respect their votes, and the decision of the British people.

Of course that doesn’t mean giving a blank cheque to Theresa May and her three-legged team of fractious Brexiteers as they try to work up a negotiating plan and squabble about whose turn it is to have the Chevening country retreat each weekend.

We have made it clear that we will resist a Brexit at the expense of workers’ rights and social justice we have set out our red lines on employment, environmental and social protection and on access to the European market.

But we will also be pressing our own Brexit agenda including the freedom to intervene in our own industries without the obligation to liberalise or privatise our public services and building a new relationship with Europe based on cooperation and internationalism.

And as Europe faces the impact of a refugee crisis fuelled by wars across the Middle East we have to face the role that repeated military interventions by British governments have played in that crisis.

The Chilcot report made absolutely clear, the lessons to be learned from the disastrous invasion and occupation of Iraq, just as this month’s Foreign Affair Select Committee report into the war in Libya demonstrated those lessons had still not been learned a decade later.

The consequences of those wars have been the spread of terrorism, sectarianism and violence across an arc of conflict that has displaced millions of people forcing them from their countries.

That is why it was right to apologise on behalf of the party for the Iraq war right to say that we have learned the lessons and right to say that such a catastrophe must never be allowed to happen again.

We need a foreign policy based on peace, justice and human rights and what great news to hear the peace treaty in Colombia after fifty years of war and we need to honour our international treaty obligations on nuclear disarmament and encourage others to do the same.

We are a long way from that humanitarian vision. Britain continues to sell arms to Saudi Arabia, a country that the United Nations says is committing repeated violations of international humanitarian law war crimes in Yemen just as we have seen taking place in Syria.

So today I make it clear that under a Labour government when there are credible reports of human rights abuses or war crimes being committed British arms sales will be suspended, starting with Saudi Arabia.

Last year, the votes we needed to win power went many different ways in all parts of our country while millions of our potential voters stayed at home.

Many didn’t believe we offered the alternative they wanted.

It’s true there’s an electoral mountain to climb.

But if we focus everything on the needs and aspirations of middle and lower income voters, of ordinary families, if we demonstrate we’ve got a viable alternative to the government’s failed economic policies. I’m convinced we can build the electoral support that can beat the Tories.

That means being the voice of women, of young people and pensioners middle and lower income workers, the unemployed and the self-employed, minority communities and those struggling with the impact of migration at work and everyone struggling to get on, and secure a better life for themselves, their families and communities.

Running like a golden thread through Labour’s vision for today as throughout our history is the struggle for equality.

Rampant inequality has become the great scandal of our time, sapping the potential of our society, and tearing at its fabric.

Labour’s goal isn’t just greater equality of wealth and income but also of power.

Our aim could not be more ambitious. We want a new settlement for the 21st century, in politics, business, our communities with the environment, and in our relations with the rest of the world.

Every one of us in the Labour party is motivated by the gap between what our country is and what it could be.

We know that in the sixth largest economy in the world the foodbanks, stunted life chances and growing poverty alongside wealth on an undreamed of scale are a mark of shameful and unnecessary failure.

We know how great this country could be, for all its people, with a new political and economic settlement.

With new forms of democratic public ownership, driven by investment in the technology and industries of the future, with decent jobs, education and housing for all with local services run by and for people not outsourced to faceless corporations.

That’s not backward-looking, it’s the very opposite.

It’s the socialism of the 21st century.

Our job is now to win over the unconvinced to our vision. Only that way can we secure the Labour government we need.

And let’s be frank, no one will be convinced of a vision, promoted by a divided party. We all agree on that.

So I ask each and every one of you, accept the decision of the members end the trench warfare and work together to take on the Tories.

Anything else is a luxury that the millions of people who depend on Labour cannot afford.

We know there will be local elections next May. In Scotland, where we have won three council by-elections this summer, in Wales and in counties across England.
And there’ll be metro mayor elections too, including here on Merseyside, where my good friend Steve Rotherham will standing as Labour’s candidate, Steve, best of luck, I will miss your comradeship and support.

But we could also face a general election next year.

Whatever the Prime Minister says about snap elections, there is every chance that Theresa May, will cut and run, for an early election.

So I put our party on notice today, Labour is preparing for a general election in 2017, we expect all our members to support our campaign and we will be ready for the challenge whenever it comes.

Let us do it, in the spirit of the great Scots-born Liverpool football manager Bill Shankly who said:

“The socialism I believe in, is everybody working for the same goal and everybody having a share in the rewards. That’s how I see football, that’s how I see life.”

We are not all Bill Shanklys. Each of us comes to our socialism from our own experiences.

Mine was shaped by my mum and dad, a teacher and an engineer. Both committed socialists and peace campaigners, my mum’s inspiration was to encourage girls to believe they could achieve anything in their lives.

And by working as a teacher in Jamaica when I was a young man, that taught me so much about the strength of communities living in adversity, as well as fighting for the low paid as a trade union organiser here in Britain.

As the great American poet Langston Hughes put it: “I see that my own hands can make the world that’s in my mind”.

Everyone here and every one of our hundreds of thousands of members has something to contribute to our cause.

That way we will unite, build on our policies. Take our vision out to a country crying out for change.

We are half a million of us, and there will be more, working together to make our country the place it could be.

Conference, united we can shape the future and build a fairer Britain in a peaceful world.

Thank you.

Jeremy Corbyn – 2016 Speech on Nuclear Deterrent

jeremycorbyn

Below is the text of the speech made by Jeremy Corbyn, the Leader of the Opposition, in the House of Commons on 18 July 2016.

May I start by welcoming the right hon. Member for Maidenhead (Mrs May) and congratulating her on her appointment as Prime Minister? I wish her well in that position, and I am glad that her election was quick and short.

I commend the remarks the Prime Minister made about the horrific events in Nice. What happened was absolutely horrific: the innocent people who lost their lives. One hopes it will not be repeated elsewhere. I was pleased she mentioned the situation in Turkey, and I support her call for calm and restraint on all sides in Turkey. After the attempted coup, I called friends in Istanbul and Ankara and asked what was going on. The older ones felt it was like a repeat of the 1980 coup and were horrified that bombs were falling close to the Turkish Parliament. Can we please not return to a Europe of military coups and dictatorships? I endorse the Prime Minister’s comments in that respect, and I pay tribute to the Foreign Office staff who helped British citizens caught up in the recent events in France and Turkey.

The motion today is one of enormous importance to this country and indeed the wider world. There is nothing particularly new in it—the principle of nuclear weapons was debated in 2007—but this is an opportunity to scrutinise the Government. The funds involved in Trident renewal are massive. We must also consider the complex moral and strategic issues of our country possessing weapons of mass destruction. There is also the question of its utility. Do these weapons of mass destruction—for that is what they are—act as a deterrent to the threats we face, and is that deterrent credible?

The motion says nothing about the ever-ballooning costs. In 2006, the MOD estimated that construction costs would be £20 billion, but by last year that had risen by 50% to £31 billion, with another £10 billion added as a contingency fund. The very respected hon. Member for Reigate (Crispin Blunt) has estimated the cost at £167 billion, though it is understood that delays might have since added to those credible figures—I have seen estimates as high as over £200 billion for the replacement and the running costs.

James Cartlidge (South Suffolk) (Con)

Is not the true cost the one we remember every Remembrance Sunday—the millions of lives we lost in two world wars? Would the right hon. Gentleman care to estimate the millions of lives that would have been lost in the third conventional war that was avoided before 1989 because of the nuclear deterrent?

Jeremy Corbyn

We all remember, on Remembrance Sunday and at other times, those who lost their lives. That is the price of war. My question is: does our possession of nuclear weapons make us and the world more secure? [Hon. Members: “Yes!”] Of course, there is a debate about that, and that is what a democratic Parliament does—it debates the issues. I am putting forward a point of view. The hon. Gentleman might not agree with it, but I am sure he will listen with great respect, as he always does.

Ian Paisley

In the past, the Labour leader’s solution to a domestic security threat was to parley with the Provisional IRA. What would his tactics be in dealing with a threat to all the peoples of this nation?

Jeremy Corbyn

Towards the end of her speech, the Prime Minister mentioned the nuclear non-proliferation treaty and multilateral disarmament. I was interested in that. Surely we should start from the basis that we want, and are determined to bring about, a nuclear-free world. Six-party talks are going on with North Korea. China is a major economic provider to North Korea. I would have thought that the relationship with China and North Korea was the key to finding a way forward.

James Berry (Kingston and Surbiton) (Con)

How would the right hon. Gentleman persuade my thousands of Korean constituents that it is a good idea to disarm unilaterally while their families and friends living in our ally South Korea face a constant nuclear threat from a belligerent regime over their northern border?

Jeremy Corbyn

I, too, have Korean constituents, as do many others, and we welcome their work and participation in our society. I was making the point that the six-party talks are an important way forward in bringing about a peace treaty on the Korean peninsula, which is surely in everybody’s interests. It will not be easy—I fully understand that—but nevertheless it is something we should be trying to do.

I would be grateful if the Prime Minister, or the Defence Secretary when he replies, could let us know the Government’s estimate of the total lifetime cost of what we are being asked to endorse today.

Mr Shailesh Vara (North West Cambridgeshire) (Con)

Will the right hon. Gentleman give way?

Jeremy Corbyn

No.

It is hardly surprising that in May 2009, an intense debate went on in the shadow Cabinet about going for a less expensive upgrade by converting to air-launched missiles. The right hon. Member for Mid Sussex (Sir Nicholas Soames) said at the time that

“the arguments have not yet been had in public in nearly an adequate enough way to warrant the spending of this nation’s treasure on the scale that will be required.”—[Official Report, 20 April 2009; Vol. 491, c. 84.]

Seven years later, we are perhaps in the same situation.

The motion proposes an open-ended commitment to maintain Britain’s current nuclear capability for as long as the global security situation demands. We on the Opposition Benches, despite our differences on some issues, have always argued for the aim of a nuclear-free world. We might differ on how to achieve it, but we are united in our commitment to that end.

In 2007, my right hon. Friend the Member for Derby South (Margaret Beckett) embarked on a meaningful attempt to build consensus for multilateral disarmament. Will the Government address where these successor submarines are going to be based? The people of Scotland have rejected Trident’s being based in Faslane naval base on the Clyde—the SNP Government are opposed to it, as is the Scottish Labour party.

We are debating not a nuclear deterrent but our continued possession of weapons of mass destruction. We are discussing eight missiles and 40 warheads, with each warhead believed to be eight times as powerful as the atomic bomb that killed 140,000 people in Hiroshima in 1945. We are talking about 40 warheads, each one with a capacity to kill more than 1 million people.

What, then, is the threat that we face that will be deterred by the death of more than 1 million people? It is not the threat from so-called Islamic State, with its poisonous death-cult that glories in killing as many people as possible, as we have seen brutally from Syria to east Africa and from France to Turkey. It has not deterred our allies Saudi Arabia from committing dreadful acts in Yemen. It did not stop Saddam Hussein’s atrocities in the 1980s or the invasion of Kuwait in 1990. It did not deter the war crimes in the Balkans in the 1990s, nor the genocide in Rwanda. I make it clear today that I would not take a decision that killed millions of innocent people. I do not believe that the threat of mass murder is a legitimate way to go about dealing with international relations.

Mr Jamie Reed (Copeland) (Lab)

As Leader of the Opposition, my right hon. Friend will be privy to briefings from the National Security Council. Will he explain when he last sought and received such a briefing and what is his assessment of the new Russian military nuclear protocols that permit first strike using nuclear weapons and that say that they can be used to de-escalate conventional military conflicts?

Jeremy Corbyn

Britain, too, currently retains the right to first strike, so I would have thought that the best way forward would be to develop the nuclear non-proliferation treaty into a no first strike situation. That would be a good way forward. I respect my hon. Friend’s wish to live in a nuclear-free world. I know he believes that very strongly.

I think we should take our commitments under the nuclear non-proliferation treaty very seriously. In 1968, the Labour Government led by Harold Wilson inaugurated and signed the non-proliferation treaty. In 2007, the then Foreign Secretary, my right hon. Friend the Member for Derby South rightly said that

“we must strengthen the NPT in all its aspects”

and referred to the judgment made 40 years ago

“that the eventual abolition of nuclear weapons was in all of our interests.”

The then Labour Government committed to reduce our stocks of operationally available warheads by a further 20%. I congratulate our Government on doing that. Indeed, I attended an NPT review conference when those congratulations were spoken. Can the Government say what the Labour Foreign Secretary said in 2007 when she said that her

“commitment to the vision of a world free of nuclear weapons is undimmed”?

Is this Government’s vision of a nuclear-free world undimmed? My right hon. Friend also spoke as Foreign Secretary of the

“international community’s clear commitment to a Middle East Nuclear Weapons Free Zone”.

Several hon. Members rose—

Jeremy Corbyn

I will not give way.

Indeed, at the last two nuclear non-proliferation treaty five-yearly review conferences there was unanimous support for a weapons of mass destruction-free zone across the middle east, which is surely something that we can sign up to and support. I look forward to the Defence Secretary’s support for that position when he responds to the debate.

Neil Coyle (Bermondsey and Old Southwark) (Lab)

My right hon. Friend is speaking about previous party policy. At the shadow Cabinet meeting last Tuesday, it was agreed that current party policy would be conveyed by Front Benchers. When will we hear it?

Jeremy Corbyn

I thank my hon. Friend for his view. As he well knows, the party decided that it wanted to support the retention of nuclear weapons. We also decided that we would have a policy review, which is currently being undertaken by my hon. Friend the Member for Norwich South (Clive Lewis).

My hon. Friend the Member for Bermondsey and Old Southwark (Neil Coyle) is as well aware as I am of the existing policy. He is also as well aware as I am of the views on nuclear weapons that I expressed very clearly at the time of the leadership election last year, hence the fact that Labour Members will have a free vote this evening.

Other countries have made serious efforts—

Angela Smith (Penistone and Stocksbridge) (Lab)

Will my right hon. Friend give way?

Jeremy Corbyn

I will come to my hon. Friend in a moment.

Other countries have made serious efforts to bring about nuclear disarmament within the terms of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. South Africa abandoned all its nuclear programmes after the end of apartheid, and thus brought about a nuclear weapons-free zone throughout the continent. After negotiation, Libya ended all research on nuclear weapons. At the end of the cold war, Ukraine gave up its nuclear weapons, although they were under the control of the former Soviet Union and, latterly, of Russia. Kazakhstan did the same, which helped to bring about a central Asia nuclear weapons-free zone, and in Latin America, Argentina and Brazil both gave up their nuclear programmes.

I commend the Government, and other Governments around the world who negotiated with Iran, seriously, with great patience and at great length. That helped to encourage Iran to give up its nuclear programme, and I think we should pay tribute to President Obama for his achievements in that regard.

The former Conservative Defence Secretary Michael Portillo said:

“To say we need nuclear weapons in this situation would imply that Germany and Italy are trembling in their boots because they don’t have a nuclear deterrent, which I think is clearly not the case.”

Is it not time for us to step up to the plate and promote—rapidly—nuclear disarmament?

Mr Kevan Jones

Like me, my right hon. Friend stood in May 2015 on the basis of a party policy which had been agreed at our conference, through our mechanisms in the party, and which supported the renewal of our continuous at-sea deterrent. He now has a shadow Front Bench and a shadow Cabinet in his own image, who, I understand, agreed last week to present that policy from the Front Bench. Is he going to do it, or will it be done by the Member who winds up the debate?

Jeremy Corbyn

My hon. Friend is well aware of what the policy was. He is also well aware that a policy review is being undertaken, and he is also well aware of the case that I am making for nuclear disarmament.

Caroline Lucas

As the right hon. Gentleman will know, a multilateral process is currently taking place at the United Nations. More than 130 countries are negotiating, in good faith, for a treaty to ban nuclear weapons. Does the right hon. Gentleman agree that the Government’s refusal even to attend, let alone take part in, that process raises serious questions about their commitment to a world without nuclear weapons?

Jeremy Corbyn

I think it is a great shame that the Government do not attend those negotiations, and I wish they would. I thank them for attending the 2014 conference on the humanitarian effects of war, and I thank them for their participation in the non-proliferation treaty, but I think they should go and support the idea of a worldwide ban on nuclear weapons. No one in the House actually wants nuclear weapons. The debate is about how one gets rid of them, and the way in which one does it.

There are questions, too, about the operational utility of nuclear armed submarines. [Interruption.] I ask the Prime Minister again—or perhaps the Secretary of State for Defence can answer this question in his response—what assessment the Government have made of the impact of underwater drones, the surveillance of wave patterns and other advanced detection techniques that could make the submarine technology—[Interruption.]

Mr Speaker

Order. Mr Shelbrooke, I want you to aspire to the apogee of statesmanship, but shrieking from a sedentary position, despite your magnificent suit, is not the way to achieve it. Calm yourself, man; I am trying to help you, even if you don’t know it.

Jeremy Corbyn

Thank you, Mr Speaker.

Can the Prime Minister confirm whether the UK will back the proposed nuclear weapons ban treaty, which I understand will be put before the UN General Assembly in September—probably before we return to the House after the summer recess? That is an important point.

Alberto Costa (South Leicestershire) (Con)

We can all agree that nuclear weapons are truly the most repugnant weapons that have ever been invented by man, but the key is the word “invented”; we cannot disinvent them, but we can control them, and that is what this is all about—controlling nuclear weapons.

Jeremy Corbyn

If this is all about controlling them, perhaps we should think for a moment about the obligations we have signed up to as a nation by signing the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, article VI of which says that the declared nuclear weapons states—of which we are one—must take steps towards disarmament, and others must not acquire nuclear weapons. It has not been easy, but the NPT has helped to reduce the level of nuclear weapons around the world.

Mr Angus Brendan MacNeil (Na h-Eileanan an Iar) (SNP)

I am stunned to hear the argument that has just been made from the Tory Benches that we cannot disinvent nuclear weapons. That argument could be employed for chemical and biological weapons.

Jeremy Corbyn

The hon. Gentleman is absolutely right. We have achieved the chemical weapons convention, a ban on cluster weapons and other things around the world through serious long-term negotiation.

Angela Smith

My right hon. Friend is fond of telling us all that the party conference is sovereign when it comes to party policy. Last year the party conference voted overwhelmingly in favour of maintaining the nuclear deterrent, so why are we not hearing a defence of the Government’s motion?

Jeremy Corbyn

Party policy is also to review our policies. That is why we have reviews.

We also have to look at the issues of employment and investment. We need Government intervention through a defence diversification agency, as we had under the previous Labour Government, to support industries that have become over-reliant on defence contracts and wish to move into other contracts and other work.

The Prime Minister mentioned the Unite policy conference last week, which I attended. Unite, like other unions, has members working in all sectors of high-tech manufacturing, including the defence sector. That, of course, includes the development of both the submarines and the warheads and nuclear reactors that go into them. Unite’s policy conference endorsed its previous position of opposing Trident but wanting a Government who will put in place a proper diversification agency. The union has been thinking these things through and wants to maintain the highly skilled jobs in the sector.

Our defence review is being undertaken by my hon. Friend the Member for Norwich South. I also pay tribute to my hon. Friend the Member for Islington South and Finsbury (Emily Thornberry) for her excellent work on the review. [Interruption.] Whatever people’s views—

Caroline Flint rose—

Jeremy Corbyn

Alright, I will give way—[Interruption.]

Mr Speaker

Order. I think the right hon. Gentleman has signalled an intention to take an intervention, but before he does—[Interruption.] Order. I just make the point that there is a lot of noise, but at the last reckoning—[Interruption.]

Order. I will tell the hon. Member for Bolsover (Mr Skinner) what the position is, and he will take it whether he likes it or not. Fifty-three Members wish to speak in this debate, and I want to accommodate them. I ask Members to take account of that to help each other.

Caroline Flint

Under the last Labour Government, because of our stand on supporting non-proliferation, as a nuclear deterrent country we were able to influence a large reduction in the number of nuclear warheads around the world. Does my right hon. Friend really think that if we abandoned our position as one of the countries that holds nuclear weapons, we would have as much influence without them as with them?

Jeremy Corbyn

We did indeed help to reduce the number of nuclear warheads. Indeed, I attended a number of conferences where there were British Government representatives, and the point was made that the number of UK warheads had been reduced and other countries had been encouraged to do the same. I talked about the nuclear weapons-free zones that had been achieved around the world, which are a good thing. However, there is now a step change, because we are considering saying that we are prepared to spend a very large sum on the development of a new generation of nuclear weapons. I draw my right hon. Friend’s attention to article VI of the NPT—I am sure she is aware of it—which requires us to “take steps towards disarmament”. That is what it actually says.

Simon Hoare (North Dorset) (Con)

Will the right hon. Gentleman give way?

Jeremy Corbyn

I am not going to give way any more, because I am up against the clock.

In case it is not obvious to the House, let me say that I will be voting against the motion tonight. I am sure that will be an enormous surprise to the whole House. I will do that because of my own views and because of the way—

Mr Jamie Reed

On a point of order, Mr Speaker.

Mr Speaker

I apologise for having to interrupt the right hon. Gentleman, but we have a point of order.

Mr Reed

I seek your guidance, Mr Speaker, on the accuracy of the language used by the Leader of the Opposition. We are not voting tonight on new nuclear warheads; we are voting simply on the submarines used to deploy those missiles. That is fundamentally different from new missiles.

Mr Speaker

The answer to the hon. Gentleman is that it is up to each right hon. and hon. Member to read the motion, interpret it as he or she thinks fit, and make a judgment accordingly. It is not a matter for the Chair.

Jeremy Corbyn

The issue of course is the submarines, but it is also the new weapons that will have to go into those submarines as and when they have been built—if they are built.

We should pause for a moment to think about the indiscriminate nature of what nuclear weapons do and the catastrophic effects of their use anywhere. As I said, I have attended NPT conferences and preparatory conferences at various times over many years, with representatives of all parties in the House. I was very pleased when the coalition Government finally, if slightly reluctantly, accepted the invitation to take part in the humanitarian effects of war conference in Vienna in 2014. Anyone who attended that conference and heard from British nuclear test veterans, Pacific islanders or civilians in Russia or the United States who have suffered the effects of nuclear explosions cannot be totally dispassionate about the effects of the use of nuclear weapons. A nuclear weapon is an indiscriminate weapon of mass destruction.

Many colleagues throughout the House will vote for weapons tonight because they believe they serve a useful military purpose. But to those who believe in multilateral disarmament, I ask this: is this not an unwise motion from the Government, giving no answers on costs and no answers on disarmament? For those of us who believe in aiming for a nuclear-free world, and for those who are deeply concerned about the spiralling costs, this motion has huge questions to answer, and they have failed to be addressed in this debate. If we want a nuclear weapons-free world, this is an opportunity to start down that road and try to bring others with us, as has been achieved to some extent over the past few decades. Surely we should make that effort rather than go down the road the Government are suggesting for us this evening.

Jeremy Corbyn – 2016 Speech on the Chilcot Inquiry

jeremycorbyn

Below is the text of the speech made by Jeremy Corbyn, the Leader of the Opposition, in the House of Commons on 6 July 2016.

Before addressing the issues raised in the Iraq inquiry report, I would like to remember and honour the 179 British servicemen and women who were killed and the thousands maimed and injured during the Iraq war, and their families, as well as the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who have died as a result of the invasion and occupation launched by the US and British Governments 13 years ago.

Yesterday, I had a private meeting with some of the families of the British dead, as I have continued to do over the past dozen years. It is always a humbling experience to witness the resolve and resilience of those families and their unwavering commitment to seek truth and justice for those who they lost in Iraq. They have waited seven years for Sir John Chilcot’s report. It was right that the inquiry heard evidence from such a wide range of people and that the origins, conduct and aftermath of the war were examined in such detail. However, the extraordinary length of time that it has taken for the report to see the light of day is, frankly, clearly a matter of regret.

I should add that the scale of the report, running to 6,275 pages, to which I was given access only at 8 o’clock this morning, means that today’s response, by all of us, can only be a provisional one.

The decision to invade and occupy Iraq in March 2003 was the most significant foreign policy decision taken by a British Government in modern times. It divided this House and set the Government of the day against a majority of the British people, as well as against the weight of global opinion. As Sir John Chilcot says, the war was not in any way a “last resort”. Frankly, it was an act of military aggression launched on a false pretext, as the inquiry accepts, and has long been regarded as illegal by the overwhelming weight of international legal opinion. It led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people and the displacement of millions of refugees. It devastated Iraq’s infrastructure and society. As the report indicates, the occupation fostered a lethal sectarianism that turned into a civil war. Instead of protecting security at home or abroad, the war fuelled and spread terrorism across the region. Sunday’s suicide bomb attack in Baghdad that killed over 250 people, the deadliest so far, was carried out by a group whose origins lie in the aftermath of the invasion. By any measure, the invasion and occupation of Iraq have been, for many, a catastrophe.

The decision to invade Iraq in 2003 on the basis of what the Chilcot report calls “flawed intelligence” about weapons of mass destruction has had a far-reaching impact on us all. It has led to a fundamental breakdown in trust in politics and in our institutions of government. The tragedy is that while the governing class got it so horrifically wrong, many of our people actually got it right. On 15 February 2003, 1.5 million people here, spanning the entire political spectrum, and tens of millions of others across the world, marched against the impending war. That was the biggest demonstration in British history.

It was not that those of us who opposed the war underestimated the brutality or the crimes of Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship. Indeed, many of us campaigned against the Iraqi regime during its most bloody period, when the British Government and the US Administration were supporting that regime, as was confirmed by the 1996 Scott inquiry. But we could see that this state, broken by sanctions and war, posed no military threat, and that the WMD evidence was flimsy and confected. We could see that going to war without United Nations’ authorisation was profoundly dangerous, and that foreign invasion and occupation would be resisted by force, and would set off a series of uncontrollable and destructive events.

If only this House had been able to listen to the wisdom of many of our own people when it voted on 18 March 2003 against waiting for UN authorisation for a second resolution, the course of events might have been different. All but 16 Members of the official Opposition at that time supported the war, while many in my party voted against it, as did others in other opposition parties. There are Members here today on all Benches, including dozens of my Labour colleagues, who voted against the war. But none of us should take any satisfaction from this report.

We have to be saddened at what has been revealed, and we must now reflect on it. In addition to all those British servicepeople and Iraqis, civilians and combatants, who lost their lives in the conflict, many members of this House who voted to stop the war have not lived to see themselves vindicated by this report. First and foremost, it would do us well to remember Robin Cook, who stood over there, 13 years ago, and said in a few hundred words, in advance of the tragedy to come, what has been confirmed by this report in more than 2 million words.

The Chilcot report has rightly dug deep into the litany of failures of planning for the occupation, and the calamitous decision to stand down the Iraqi army and to dissolve the entire Iraqi state as a process of de-Ba’athification. However, the reality is that it was the original decision, to follow the US President into this war in the most volatile region of the world and impose a colonial-style occupation, that led to every other disaster. The Government’s September 2002 dossier, with its claim that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction that could be deployed in 45 minutes, was only the most notorious of many deceptions. As Major General Michael Laurie told the inquiry:

“We knew at the time that the purpose of the dossier was precisely to make a case for war, rather than setting out the available intelligence”.

Military action in Iraq not only turned a humanitarian crisis into a disaster, but it also convulsed the entire region, just as intervention in Libya in 2011 has sadly left the country in the grip of warring militias and terror groups. The Iraq war increased the threat of terrorism in our own country, as Baroness Manningham-Buller, former head of MI5, made clear to the inquiry.

There are many lessons that need to be drawn from the Iraq war and the investigation carried out by Sir John Chilcot in his inquiry; lessons for our Government, our country and this Parliament, as well as for my party and every other party. They include the need for a more open and independent relationship with the United States, and for a foreign policy based on upholding international law and the authority of the United Nations, which always seeks peaceful solutions to international disputes. We also need, and the Prime Minister indicated this, much stronger oversight of security and intelligence services. We need the full restoration of proper Cabinet government and to give Parliament the decisive say over any future decisions to go to war—based on objective information, not just through Government discretion but through a war powers Act, which I hope this Parliament will pass. As, in the wake of Iraq, our own Government and other western Governments increasingly resort to hybrid warfare based on the use of drones and special forces, our democracy crucially needs to ensure that their use is subject to proper parliamentary scrutiny.

There are no more important decisions a Member of Parliament ever gets asked to make than those relating to peace and war. The very least that Members of Parliament and the country should be able to expect is rigorous and objective evidence on which to base their crucial decisions. We now know that the House was misled in the run-up to the war, and the House must now decide how to deal with it 13 years later, just as all those who took the decisions laid bare in the Chilcot report must face up to the consequences of their actions, whatever they may be.

Later today, I will be meeting a group of families of military servicemen and women who lost loved ones, as well as Iraq war veterans and Iraqi citizens who have lost family members as a result of the war that the US and British Governments launched in 2003. I will be discussing with them, our public and the Iraqi people the decisions taken by our then Government that led the country into war, with terrible consequences.

Quite bluntly, there are huge lessons for every single one of us here today. We make decisions that have consequences that go on not just for the immediate years, but for decades and decades afterwards. We need to reflect very seriously before we take any decisions again to take military action. We should realise that the consequences of those decisions will live with all of us for many decades to come, and will often be incalculable.

Jeremy Corbyn – 2016 Speech at Launch of the Chakrabarti Report

jeremycorbyn

Below is the text of the speech made by Jeremy Corbyn, the Leader of the Opposition, at the launch of the Chakrabarti Report in London on 30 June 2016.

The Labour Party is built on the values of solidarity, social justice, equality, internationalism and human rights. That is why I have devoted my life to it, and why nine months ago, I was honoured to be elected leader by over a quarter of a million people. That is, by the way, substantially more than the entire electorate that will have the right to pick the Conservative Prime Minister this Autumn.

After the tumultuous events of the past week in Britain, including the vote in last week’s referendum to leave the European Union, the need for us to unite around these values, to practice what we preach, and be judged by the highest of standards, is perhaps as great as it has ever been.

So although I asked Shami Chakrabarti to carry out her inquiry after some disturbing and damaging incidents earlier this year, I believe that its findings and recommendations are of even more importance for our party, country and wider world today.

Whatever your views on the outcome of the referendum campaign – and two thirds of Labour supporters voted Remain – we need to reflect for a few moments on some of the hateful language used by some of the most prominent participants in it.

Boris Johnson, current favourite to lead the Tory party, compared Hitler’s murderous tyranny with the European project created from its ashes and questioned Barack Obama’s motives because of his “part-Kenyan heritage”.

That was no dog whistle. That was a fog horn – a classic racist trope – casting doubt on someone’s motivation because of their race.

The Justice Secretary Michael Gove compared pro-Remain economists to Nazi collaborators, a startling example of the way in which the Nazi regime and the Holocaust can be minimized, trivialized or even forgotten by ill-judged comparisons.

And Nigel Farage warned of mass sex attacks should the Remain Campaign win, calling it the “nuclear bomb” of the Brexit campaign. Is it only me who just doesn’t find him funny any more?

These are hateful comments – no question. They are unworthy of  the millions who voted to Leave, not out of xenophobia or racism, but often as a desperate response – yes to austerity, but also to years of being ignored and left behind by the Westminster elite.

The people of Britain – and especially the young – need a strong, united, principled and kind Labour Party more than ever. They didn’t crash the banks, heat up the planet or start the wars of the past decade or so. But the risk is that they will have to work harder for longer, quite possibly for less pay, because of what the powerful have done in their name.

Divide and rule is the oldest trick in the book – whether used by imperial powers abroad or hate-mongers at home. Turn people against each other. Use race or religion or anything else you can find and hope they will be too distracted or consumed to take on the great inequalities of wealth and power in the world.

For over a hundred years, the Labour Party of Keir Hardie, Ellen Wilkinson and Manny Shinwell has existed to offer working people another way: solidarity instead of division, equality instead of injustice, inclusion instead of isolation, internationalism instead of narrow nationalism, and human rights for all.

But we cannot do our duty, if we do not look at ourselves as well. Say what you like about me, but I’m no hypocrite. When I look in the mirror, it is less for sartorial elegance than to examine what’s in my own eye before pointing out the specks in others. I urge others in politics to do the same.

This is why I asked Shami Chakrabarti and her colleagues to take on the vital work of looking into our own Party before we criticise others. That is what she and her team have done. And I’m here today to launch and recommend their work to our Party and to put my weight behind its immediate implementation.

Under my leadership, the Labour Party will not allow hateful language or debate, in person, online or anywhere else. We will aim to set the gold standard, not just for anti-racism, but for a genuinely welcoming environment for all communities and for the right to disagreement as well.

Racism is racism is racism. There is no hierarchy – no acceptable form of it. I have always fought it in all its forms and I always will. But while we respond to hate with universal principles we must also remember people’s particular experience, if we are too ensure that not one person feels vulnerable or excluded from their natural political home.

The Jewish community has made an enormous contribution to our Party and our country – Jewish people have been at the heart of progressive and radical politics in Britain, as elsewhere, for well over a century.

But they are also a minority amongst minorities and have had good cause to feel vulnerable and even threatened throughout history. This should never happen by accident or design in our Labour Party. Modern antisemitism may not always be about overt violence and persecution, though there is too much of that even to this day. We must also be vigilant against subtler and invidious manifestations of this nasty ancient hatred and avoid slipping into its traps by accident or intent.

For the avoidance of doubt, I do not believe in name calling and I never have. “Zio” is a vile epithet that follows in a long line of earlier such terms that have no place in our Party. Nor should anyone indulge in the kind of stereotyping that can cause such hurt and harm.

To assume that a Jewish friend or fellow member is wealthy, part of some kind of financial or media conspiracy, or takes a particular position on politics in general, or on Israel and Palestine in particular, is just wrong.

Our Jewish friends are no more responsible for the actions of Israel or the Netanyahu Government than our Muslim friends are for those of various self-styled Islamic states or organisations. Nor should Muslims be regarded as sexist, antisemitic or otherwise suspect, as has become an ugly Islamophobic norm. We judge people on their individual values and actions, not en masse.

No one should be expected either to condemn or defend the actions of foreign powers on account of their faith or race. At the same time, we should have the sensitivity to understand how upset many Labour party members and supporters are likely to feel about various human rights abuses around the world.

Human rights language is so much more accurate and persuasive than the kind of language that was often resorted to in the Brexit debate. That is no doubt acceptable in other places and other parties, but it shouldn’t be here, on my watch, or in our name.

I will continue – as Labour Leader – to pursue the causes of peace and justice in Israel-Palestine, the wider Middle East and all over the world. But those who claim to do so with hateful or inflammatory language do no service to anyone, especially dispossessed and oppressed people in need of better advocacy.

Of course we as Labour Party members must all be free to criticise and oppose injustice and abuse wherever we find it. But as today’s Report recommends, can we please leave Hitler and Nazi metaphors alone (especially in the context of Israel). Why? Because the Shoah is still in people’s family experience. If every human rights atrocity is described as a Holocaust, Hitler’s attempted obliteration of the Jewish people is diminished or de-recognised in our history. Other human rights atrocities from African slavery to the killing fields of Cambodia, the Armenian and Rwandan Genocides are all of course to be remembered, but diluting their particularity or comparing degrees of evil does no good.

Pursuing a more civil discourse does not in any way mean stifling free speech. I for one, will continue to meet, discuss and debate with all-comers in the cause of peace, progress, justice and human rights around the world. Though I acknowledge the need for the Party’s Leader to spread his or her time around a greater range of issues, I do not believe that anyone should be judged for the platforms they share or the human rights causes they take up, as long as they fight hate with every breath.

And to those who have been afraid of so-called “witch-hunts” by the press in recent months, those who perhaps worry that debate and speech around difficult and important issues risks being shut down in our Party: I commend and endorse the Report’s recommendations about improving natural justice, transparency, consistency and accountability in the conduct of Party discipline.

But not being racist and not being hateful is not enough for our Party to be the inclusive and vibrant political movement that Britain so sorely needs. If we are to unite and lead our country we must be the most welcoming and empowering place in which our diverse communities can prosper.

I am very concerned about the Report’s findings on how too many black and minority ethnic members of our party have felt for too long. We must act against long term “special measures” placing local parties under limited democracy. I will also take action with colleagues to seek to improve the representation of black and minority people at every level of staffing and leadership within the Labour Party.

We will work with our Trade Union affiliates and others to achieve the best programme of activist and leadership education possible. We will talk, read, learn and organise together. We will learn from each other’s personal experiences but also share each other’s considerable campaigning and political skills.

The last year – with all of its highs and lows – has left me with every confidence that Labour is has the potential to be a powerful and transformatory movement, capable of winning the next General Election (whenever it comes), and many more elections after that.

But my confidence and optimism are not naive. We all know that despite the overwhelming mandate I was given by Labour party members and supporters last year – we’ve all had a torrid few days.

Whatever now takes place in our party, politics should be conducted in a decent manner. When I stood for the leadership last summer I called for a kinder, gentler politics, that’s still work in progress.

Some people may equate “leadership” with nastiness. I disagree. Decency is no disqualification for leadership – in fact it should be a pre-requisite.

Those loyal to my leadership, and to Labour’s core values, want to pursue the new politics with decency and civility, and see strength and not weakness in living those values.

I ask Labour people to do as I do. To be kind and respectful to each other and our neighbours, and to be as courteous as we are courageous with our opponents.

I believe that approach to be closer to the values of the British people than so much of what they have witnessed on the political stage over many recent years.

I want to express huge thanks to Shami Chakrabarti, David Feldman and Jan Royall, as well as to Deok Joo Rhee and Godric Jolliffe – and all who submitted their views and took part in this comprehensive exercise.

Britain deserves better – so let’s offer it. Come together as a party and then unite and lead our country through these incredibly challenging times.