McDonnell lays into Tory plans for a Brexit to suit City bankers
TORIES want an exit from the EU in favour of City bankers that hardly anyone actually voted for, shadow chancellor John McDonnell said yesterday as he endorsed a “people’s Brexit.”
He insisted that the “utterly chaotic” government was only interested in reaching sweetheart deals for banks and big businesses that would turn Britain into the “Singapore of the north Atlantic,” while smaller manufacturers and companies are ignored.
To back up his point that ministers cannot be trusted with control of Brexit, Mr McDonnell pointed to speculation about what incentives the government was expected to offer Nissan to urge it to stay in Britain in the face of any EU trade tariffs.
The government and Nissan denied that any financial settlement was agreed.
Mr McDonnell said: “Are they now going to decide, literally factory by factory, the support they are going to give?”
He spoke at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers on the same day that Nissan announced that its new Qashqai and X-Trail car models would be made in Sunderland, a city that mainly voted Leave.
Business Secretary Greg Clark told Radio 4 that the Nissan agreement rested on “very strong mutual confidence” and insisted that no financial deal had been struck since the company, part-owned by French car manufacturer Renault, had threatened to relocate its production to France.
Mr McDonnell also used his keynote address on Brexit to warn that EU migrants should not be blamed for low pay and job insecurity, arguing that these problems are instead caused by an outdated economic model that needs replacement.
Labour’s policy has been about “managed migration,” he added, which would address concerns raised during the referendum campaign about British living standards, immigration and bosses exploiting foreign workers.
Shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer said earlier this month that migration “should be reduced by making sure we have got the skills that are needed for the jobs that are needed to be done.”
Meanwhile, the economy confounded expectations of a slowdown in the three months following the Brexit vote thanks to a “strong performance” in services and the film and TV industries.
The Office for National Statistics, in its first estimate for July to September, said GDP had grown by 0.5 per cent.
Economists had expected just 0.3 per cent.
However, the pound has sunk more than 20 per cent against the US dollar since the Brexit vote in June.