Corbyn to lay out Brexit plan and warn of Tory ‘Thatcherism on steroids’

Jeremy Corbyn to lay out Brexit plan
Jeremy Corbyn

Jeremy Corbyn is under pressure to lay out his plan for Brexit after the British Prime Minister said voters deserve to have a “clear picture” of what potential leaders will do about it.

General Election campaigning appeared to ramp up between the two leaders ahead of the dissolution of Parliament at a minute past midnight on Wednesday.

Mr Johnson, who will chair a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday morning, challenged the Labour leader to “come clean” about his plan for leaving the European Union, ahead of a speech from Mr Corbyn in which he is expected to set out his intentions.

In his speech in Harlow, Mr Corbyn will also accuse Tory leader Mr Johnson of trying to “hijack” Brexit so he can sell out the NHS if he is returned to power in the General Election on December 12.

The Labour leader will say the Tories are preparing to unleash “Thatcherism on steroids”, opening up the health service to US pharmaceutical companies and stripping workers of their rights.

In a letter to Mr Corbyn on Monday night, the Prime Minister focused on Brexit, saying his rival has “sought to avoid explaining” what his plan is, and seems to want to “go back to square one”.

He wrote: “When they choose the next Prime Minister, the voters deserve to have a clear picture of what each potential leader will do when it comes to Brexit.”

A Labour Party spokesman said Mr Corbyn has “repeatedly laid out Labour’s clear and straightforward policy of getting Brexit sorted by giving the people the final say within six months” and will do so again in his speech on Tuesday.

Mr Corbyn will again claim Mr Johnson is seeking a post-Brexit trade deal with the US that would mean “full market access” to the NHS for US producers, pushing up the cost of medicines.

The Conservatives have consistently denied the NHS would be “on the table” in trade talks with President Donald Trump’s administration.

Meanwhile, The Times reported that Labour’s pledge to reduce the working week to 32 hours within 10 years would cost taxpayers at least £17 billion.

The newspaper said research by the Centre for Policy Studies, a centre-right think tank, found that reducing the hours of public sector employees would impose a significant extra burden on the Treasury because the workforce would have to expand.

A Labour spokeswoman said: “Labour will gradually reduce the average full-time working week to 32 hours over the course of a decade, funded by rising productivity across the economy thanks to Labour’s large-scale programme of investment.

“Our sectoral bargaining agreements will mean employers – including the Government – sitting around the table with trade unions to negotiate how productivity increases can pay for the cost of reducing hours.

“Nobody will be fooled by reports by Conservative-aligned think tanks like the Centre for Policy Studies.”

Further warnings about the Labour leader came from Trade Secretary Liz Truss, who, according to the Daily Telegraph, will say in a speech that women have “the most to lose” from a Corbyn government.

Elsewhere, the Lib Dems have vowed to put a £50 billion “Remain bonus” into public services if they win the General Election.

The party, which will launch its campaign in London on Tuesday, said scrapping Brexit will generate billions for public finances because they say remaining in the European Union will mean the economy will grow faster than under Brexit, and will lead to higher GDP.

The Brexit Party will kick off a nationwide tour as part of its campaign, taking in towns in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire, after leader Nigel Farage vowed to target the five million Labour voters who backed Leave in the referendum.

Back in the House of Commons on Monday night, Sir Lindsay Hoyle emerged victorious in the election to replace John Bercow as Speaker.

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