The Government had broken its promises and could not be trusted, the Labour Party said today.
During Prime Minister’s Question Time, Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn welcomed the General Election called the previous day, but said that the Prime Minister had promised there would not be a General Election. She was “a Prime Minister who cannot be trusted”, he exclaimed.
He accused her of refusing to defend her record in televised debates, and attacked Government policy on the economy, given falling wages and increased levels of household debt. Child and pensioner poverty had also increased, he said.
In reply, Prime Minister Theresa May said that she would be defending a “proud record” in the campaign, including a reduced deficit, tax cuts and reductions in Income Tax liability, as well as record employment and increased payments for pensioners.
Following, Mr Corbyn challenged the Prime Minister to join in a debate on the record of her Government. He said that the previous Conservative Party Manifesto had committed to reducing child poverty, but the party had merely altered the definition of this measure.
He cited the failure of the Government to meet its previously-specific deficit reduction targets and declared that “austerity has failed”.
Replying, Ms May said that the Labour Party had an economic policy that would “bankrupt” the UK, with “ordinary working people” paying the price through taxes, jobs and “their children’s futures”.
Mr Corbyn again attacked the Government’s continued deferral of its deficit target, and said that debt had risen every year the Conservatives had been in office. He asked how long it would take until the UK’s debt started falling.
Replying, Ms May accused Labour of running for election on a promise to borrow an extra £500bn. She raised the possible implications of its economic policies in terms of tax increases, including on Council Tax and VAT.
Mr Corbyn replied by highlighting cuts to schools budgets and the NHS, juxtaposing this with “tax giveaways to the richest corporations”.
“There are record levels of funding” going to schools and the NHS, countered Ms May. She further defended the Government’s record of increasing the number of children attending schools rated Good or Outstanding by Ofsted, and accused Labour of opposing parental choice over schools. The Opposition wanted parents to “trust your luck” with local authority-run institutions, she said.
Replying, Mr Corbyn noted that many schools were now sending letters to parents begging for money. He also cited an unprecedented fall in per-patient funding in the NHS, and arguing that the Government was presiding over a perpetual crisis in the health service.
Responding, Ms May said that more frontline staff were available in the NHS and more patients were being treated than ever before, with record levels of funding. She predicted that Labour policies would lead to “bankruptcy and chaos”.
Mr Corbyn replied by saying that the Conservative Manifesto had promised to increase real terms NHS spending. “That is another Tory broken promise”, he said. He accused the Conservatives of “breaking every promise” on a range of issues, and claimed the party’s election campaign promises should not have any credibility.
Replying, Ms May said that the Government had a plan “to make Brexit a success and build a stronger Britain for the future”. “Every vote for the Conservatives will make me stronger” in Brexit negotiations, she said.
She concluded by argued that voting Conservative would help to build a stronger country for the future.
All of PMQs, in real time
Every week, DeHavilland provides live coverage of Prime Minister's Questions, with immediate alerts for our clients on relevant topics raised. Get in touch today to learn more.
As Senior Political Analyst at DeHavilland, Anna Haswell leads on financial services policy, as well as covering media issues. In her capacity as Content Marketer, she is also responsible for DeHavilland's briefings and analysis output, working across teams to ensure relevant messages reach current and prospective clients alike. She is a graduate of the University of Oxford and Goldsmiths, University of London.