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Corbyn blasts 'ludicrous' Queen's speech from government with no majority or mandate

And unions slam Tory rail reform as 'repackaging the racket' of privatisation

JEREMY CORBYN said today it was “ludicrous” for the government to be holding a Queen’s Speech tomorrow when it is more than 40 votes short of a Commons majority.

The Labour leader lambasted Boris Johnson’s government “that is now minus 40” and has yet to win a vote in Parliament.

“What we have got in effect is a party political broadcast from the steps of the throne,” he said.

Mr Corbyn added that there was a “strong possibility”of a general election before Christmas.

His comments came as Mr Johnson was set to put delivering Brexit at the heart of his legislative programme in the first Queen’s Speech since he became prime minister.

A Withdrawal Agreement Bill to ratify any deal he manages to strike at this week’s European Union summit will be included.

Mr Johnson will also pledge a programme of domestic legislation, with 22 Bills that include measures to support the NHS, tackle violent crime and invest in infrastructure.

However, with no Commons majority, it is questionable how much, if any, of the proposed legislation ministers can get through Parliament before a general election.

The measures include a new environment Bill to establish legally binding targets to reduce use of plastics, restore biodiversity, improve water quality and cut air pollution.

There will also be a white paper on railway reform, setting out proposals to overhaul the current franchising system with a new commercial model.

However, rail unions dismissed the plans as spin and argued that they represent continuing private control of the railways.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “Nobody will be fooled by this ‘same meat, different gravy’ spin that’s coming out of Downing Street.

“Trying to repackage the racket of franchising for political purposes will fail.

“Ruling out the public-sector option exposes the whole policy for the sham that it is. 

“We need a nationalised railway where quality, investment, planning and safety come first.”

TSSA general secretary Manuel Cortes also dismissed the plans and said: “Anything that falls short of full public ownership of our railways amounts to tinkering at the edges.”

Shadow home secretary Diane Abbott said: “It is hypocritical for the Tories to set out these plans when they were the ones who imposed cuts and let crime soar in the first place.

“Everything was cut, from schools, to the NHS, to the police, to mental health services. They all had terrible consequences.

“This Queen’s Speech is farcical.”

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