On Tuesday Prime Minister David Cameron gave a statement to the House of Commons on the Paris attacks. MPs on both sides of the House stood united in expressing their condolences and solidarity with the people of Paris in the wake of the horrific and unjustified attacks.
On behalf of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn wrote to François Hollande expressing his deepest sympathy and offering support in every effort to bring to justice the perpetrators of these despicable acts.
In response to David Cameron, Jeremy Corbyn stated that the Prime Minister and the Home Secretary have talked of the importance of achieving consensus in our response to the attacks and a common objective in trying to defeat ISIL and said that the Opposition stand ready to work with him and the Government towards that end. He said the shocking events are a reminder to all of the ever present threat of terrorism and pledged Labour’s support for the Government in their efforts to protect the people of this country and keep them safe.
He called on the Prime Minister to confirm that he is willing to work with the Labour Party to prevent further drastic cuts to our police force which will be playing a vital role on the ground in ensuring that our communities are safe.
We in Britain are proud to live in a diverse and multi-faith society, and we stand for the unity of all communities. There are more than 2 million Muslims living in Britain, and they are as utterly appalled by the terrorist attacks in Paris as anybody else. We have seen after previous atrocities such as this that there can be a backlash against Muslim and other communities, but we must be clear that anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and far-right racism have no place whatsoever in our society. Jeremy Corbyn called on the Prime Minister to work with faith communities to ensure that we achieve and strengthen community cohesion during these difficult times.
It is also important the Government provide the security and humanitarian aid that is needed. Jeremy Corbyn asked the Prime Minister to ensure all those entering the UK whether as refugees or as visitors are appropriately screened and that the Home Office provide the border staff necessary to do that. He also said that it is important in these circumstances to maintain our humanitarian duty towards refugees.
House Of Lords Votes to Allow 16 and 17-Year-Olds Say In EU Referendum
The rights of young people took centre stage on Wednesday night. Labour Peers led a cross-party vote in favour of giving 16 and 17 year-olds the vote in the upcoming EU referendum, resulting in another resounding Government defeat.
The Tories are once again on the wrong side of the argument and have fallen short of speeding through their agenda thanks to Labour Peers. First with tax credits and now with young people. Lord Faulkes the Tory Civil justice minister, suggested 16-year-olds might be overwhelmed by the challenge of voting. These are the same 16 and 17-year-olds that can get married, join the army, become a director of a company, and pay income tax. These are the same 16 and 17 year olds who in Scotland showed that, when given the right to vote, they become passionately engaged and used their vote responsibly.
Wednesday represented an astounding victory. The fact that over 40 independent peers were convinced by the strength of our argument, and the scale of the defeat - Government lost by 82 votes - means David Cameron may be forced into yet another u-turn. Labour have confidence in the ability of young people to make informed decisions about their future. Now it is up to the Prime Minister to show the same confidence in our young people and let the 1.5million 16-17 year olds vote in the EU Referendum.
Labour’s Shadow Foreign Office Minister in the Lords, Baroness Eluned Morgan said of the result “It’s an exceptional situation and a once in a life time vote – Mr Cameron should allow these young people their say and accept the Lords amendment.” Campaigns will now be run to encourage this age group to put pressure on Conservative MPs to alert them to the fact that denying them a vote in the EU referendum will be noted by this upcoming generation of General Election voters.
Next week George Osborne will deliver the Government’s Spending Review and Autumn Statement. He will outline the Government’s spending plans and economic strategy.
We will finally discover if he u-turns on cuts to tax credits and what he will do to police budgets. Thanks to Labour Lords, the Government has already been forced to rethink over cuts to tax credits, but we are still calling for a reversal of these cuts. Labour’s campaign to protect the police budget from drastic cuts has been gaining momentum and we urge the Government to review the budget cut proposals.
As we look towards the joint Spending Review and Autumn Statement we must assess George Osborne’s economic progress so far. Unfortunately the results have not been good, Osborne is failing to secure the long term future of our economy. His record does not stand up to scrutiny.
He has failed on multiple measures – he has not closed the deficit, as he said he would, borrowing is £200bn higher than planned in 2010, the UK’s productivity gap is widening, housing investment is falling, and businesses can’t access the finance they need to invest and create the stable, secure and high-skilled jobs of the future.
In line with the Tory ideology of austerity, working people are bearing the brunt. The Chancellor’s plan to cut tax credits are a work penalty which will cost three million working families on average £1,300 a year from April 2016.
Labour rejects the Tory ideology of austerity because it won’t deliver the sustainable economy that we need. We need to move away from knee-jerk cuts, and embrace a strategic approach.
An approach where we work in partnership with businesses, entrepreneurs and workers to stimulate growth. Provide the opportunity for massive advances in technology, skills and organisational change that will drive up productivity, create new innovative products and new markets.
This is our real economic alternative to Tory austerity, closing the deficit but in a different way by making different choices more conducive to the long-term health of the economy.