Early Parliamentary General Election

Part of Deferred Divisions – in the House of Commons at 7:57 pm on 4th September 2019.

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Photo of Jeremy Corbyn Jeremy Corbyn Leader of Her Majesty's Official Opposition, Leader of the Labour Party 7:57 pm, 4th September 2019

This is the second time I have replied to a Conservative Prime Minister who has sought to dissolve Parliament and call an election because they did not have a deliverable Brexit policy. Although I am not condemning Mrs May by comparing her to her successor, she at least made detailed speeches setting out her Brexit policy—even if we fundamentally disagreed with them. This Prime Minister claims he has a strategy, but he cannot tell us what it is. The bigger problem for him is that he has not told the EU what it is either.

At Prime Minister’s Question Time today, as in the statement yesterday, the Prime Minister was unable even to say whether he has made any proposals whatsoever to the EU. Basically, the policy is cloaked in mystery because, like the emperor’s new clothes, there really is absolutely nothing there. The naked truth is that the reality is deeply unpalatable: a disastrous no-deal Brexit to take us into the arms of a trade deal with Donald Trump that would put America first and Britain a distant second.

The Prime Minister knows there is no mandate for no deal, no majority support for it in the country and no majority for it in this House. The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster—the co-convenor of the Vote Leave campaign—said in March this year that

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

Even the leaders of the leave campaign are absolutely clear that the referendum conferred no mandate for no deal. No deal is opposed by every business group, every industry body and every trade union—and by this House, as today’s vote and others have shown.

We want an election because we look forward to turfing this Government out.