John McDonnell MP, Labour’s Shadow Chancellor, today gave a keynote speech at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) in London, where he made the argument that only a Labour Government can make an economic success of Brexit, as the Conservatives are not prepared to do the economic heavy lifting that is required to prepare our economy for leaving the EU.
He also said that the British people did not vote for a “Bankers’ Brexit”, which is all the Tories are offering as they look to cut special sweetheart deals for big business and bankers, whilst ignoring manufacturers and SMEs.
He set out his economic plans to rebuild and transform Britain, so that no one and no community is left behind, by taking back the economic levers of power that the EU currently have at their disposal, such as the reform of state aid rules and an end to enforced privatisation and deregulation, as part of the negotiations for a new relationship with the EU.
The Shadow Chancellor emphasised the importance of working with our European neighbours constructively to clamp down on tax avoidance and not threaten them with a race to the bottom in low corporation tax rates.
Mr McDonnell also warned that the Tories will try to strike a Brexit deal in which they create a TTIP-like agreement that allows privatisation through the backdoor.
In his speech today John McDonnell MP said:
Theresa May has shown that she will change her mind on a major constituency matter like Heathrow. When she used to say she was: “firmly against plans to build a third runway at Heathrow..." as she knew her constituents would be “devastated”.
She now talks of the “benefits of a new runway”.
So can we say she won’t decide that Brexit means a Bankers’ Brexit at the expense of the rest of the overall economy?
Just check the deleted web pages on her own website as a sign of her commitment.
If she is willing to turn her back on her constituents to satisfy the Conservative establishment, then how can we take on blind trust that she will seek a Brexit deal that benefits everyone in our country and not just Tory special interests?
And nor can we trust Philip Hammond to speak for Britain in striking a deal. Just look at his record.
In 2013 when he was Transport Secretary and dealt with the Thameslink trains contract when it came to British workers fighting for their job, he chose to award a contract to an overseas country regardless of the job losses.
And his excuse? He was worried not about those workers losing their jobs, but upsetting Eurocrats.
Whether by design or by default, this Shambolic Brexit will end up where the Tories always end: looking after the few, not the many. Already, Tory Cabinet ministers are looking to cook up special deals for their friends in the City of London. While Tory backbenchers want to attack hard-won workplace rights. They want a “Bankers’ Brexit”, in the interests of an elite few, not the majority. They'll cut a deal for finance, but ignore our small businesses and manufacturers.
Labour will fight for all our businesses to have Single Market access, not just the favoured few. Let me be clear, those who have voted Conservative are not the same as the Tory establishment. Like me, you will have friends who have voted Conservative. They don’t want a Bankers’ Brexit any more than I do.
The simple truth is that the Tory establishment cannot be trusted to make a success of Brexit. They want to take control for themselves, not the many. They want to turn Britain into a Singapore of the North Atlantic. Not because they want to match the huge public housing provision that country offers for the many. But because they want to match the low taxes for the few.
The Tories would want to strike their own TTIP deal that would keep in place the backdoor privatisations of our NHS, and they would run down our hard-won employment rights.
Labour in government is the only party that would be prepared to take the necessary measures to make a success of Brexit.
Labour is committed to serious investment in our country that would make sure our economy can power through the stresses of Brexit, and help us rebuild and transform our country so no one and no community is left behind.
Labour is also the only party of government that has the necessary fiscal framework that will underpin it so we can take control of the public finances. We are also committed to making sure that Brexit works for everyone not an elite few. The Tories want to cut special deals for bankers, and cut taxes for big multinationals.
Labour would work with our European neighbours to protect our key industries like steel, and broker deals with the EU to make sure big multinationals like Google pay their fair share in tax. We will put the national interest first. The Tories will put their vested interests first.
Labour will take back the economic levers of power currently in the hands of the EU, such as over state-aid rules, and return them to the people.
Not a Bankers’ Brexit for the lucky few, but a People’s Brexit for the many.