LABOUR leader Jeremy Corbyn, in his speech to the party conference yesterday, made Tory PM May an offer: he said that Labour would give the May government its full support if she delivers a satisfactory Brexit deal.
He said, directing his comments to May: ‘If you deliver a deal which includes a Customs Union, and no hard border in Ireland, if you protect jobs, people’s rights at work and environmental and consumers’ standards, then we will support that sensible deal, a deal that would be backed by most of the businesses in the world and trade unions.
‘… But if you can’t negotiate that deal, then you need to make way for a party that can and will.’ He said: ‘Conference, the way ahead is clear. We will vote against any reduction in rights, standards, protections and oppose a deregulatory race to the bottom.
‘As it stands Labour will vote against the Chequers plan or whatever is left of it and oppose leaving the EU with no deal. ‘It is inconceivable that we would crash out of the EU with no deal. It would be a national disaster. ‘That is why, if Parliament votes down a Tory deal or the government fails to reach any deal at all, we would press for a general election. ‘Failing that all options are on the table.’
During the speech, Corbyn took a further step to the right in blaming the Russian state for the Salisbury incidents saying: ‘The reckless attacks, which the evidence painstakingly assembled by police now points clearly to the Russian state.’ This is a major concession to May. Up until now Corbyn has always demanded that all the evidence should be produced.
On Palestine, he said: ‘Let me say a few words on the ongoing denial of justice and rights to the Palestinian people. ‘Our party is united in condemning the shooting of hundreds of unarmed demonstrators in Gaza by Israeli forces and the passing of Israel’s discriminatory Nation State Law. The continuing occupation, the expansion of illegal settlements, and the imprisonment of Palestinian children are an outrage.
‘We support a two-state solution to the conflict with the security of Israel and a viable Palestinian State. ‘… In order to make that two-state solution a reality, we will recognise a Palestinian state as soon as we take office,’ he said to a standing ovation.
He said: ‘When President Trump takes the US out of the Paris accord and tries to scrap the Iran nuclear deal, moves the US embassy to Jerusalem, and pursues aggressive nationalism and trade wars, he is turning his back on international cooperation and even on international law. ‘Today’s Conservative government continues to collude with the disastrous Saudi-led war in Yemen, turning a blind eye to evidence of war crimes and the devastating suffering of millions of civilians. That is why I was honoured to attend a vigil this week held in Liverpool by the Yemeni community in protest at what is taking place.
‘Labour’s foreign policy will be driven by progressive values and international solidarity. This means no more reckless wars like Iraq or Libya.’ On re-nationalisation Corbyn said: ‘The Birmingham Prison run by G4S had to be brought back into public ownership after the Chief Inspector of Prisons described it as the worst he had ever visited. ‘The privatised probation service is on the brink of meltdown. Richard Bergan, the next Secretary of State for Justice, will end this scandal.
‘On the railways, the East Coast Franchise, has collapsed for the third time in a decade, bailed out yet again by the taxpayers. ‘And the giant privateer Carillion, sunk in a sea of reckless greed leaving hospitals half-built, workers dumped on the dole, pensions in peril, while the Carillion directors continued to stuff their pockets and dividends, while small businesses in the supply chain took heavy losses. All went bust. ‘Privatisation and outsourcing are now a national disaster zone and Labour is ready to call time on this racket.’
On the NHS, he said: ‘Aneurin Bevan inspired by the collective health provision in his home town of Tredegar, described the health service as pure socialism, and so it is.
‘We all contribute through our taxes so that it is there for all of us whenever we need it. But this Conservative government has pushed our NHS into crisis with more people waiting longer in Accident and Emergency and to see a doctor and over four million people on the waiting list.’
• Shadow Chancellor McDonnell after the speech when asked by BBC how he would vote in a second referendum declined to give an answer. Corbyn is meeting European Union chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier in Europe today. He will be accompanied by Shadow Foreign Secretary Dianne Abbott.