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  1. Politics
8 September 2017

It is Labour that has the credible programme for government

The Tories must prop up failing policies with an unstable alliance. 

By Diane Abbott

Although polls consistently show Labour ahead of the Tories at the moment, and the dismay of many senior Tories, Theresa May has said that she plans to fight the next general election and that the public want her to stay.

The reality is that the Prime Minister, who relies on her unholy and unstable alliance with the Democratic Unionist Party to create a slender parliamentary majority, is already leading what my colleague Jon Trickett MP has termed “zombie government” and as he also said “the sooner the public has the chance to vote out her and her government, the better for our country’s future.”

The longer the general election campaign went on, especially after the U-turns around the “dementia tax”, the more the public lost trust in the Tories’ message. It is is now clearer each week that in a range of policy areas the Tories have lost the public’s faith.

The fact that Theresa May’s Queen’s Speech had to omit most of the Tory manifesto showed that they had ran out of ideas, other than scapeogoating migrants and other vulnerable groups to distract from their own failures.

Manifesto promises in areas such as tackling the social care crisis, free school breakfasts and taking action on rocketing energy bills been abandoned or massively watered down. More broadly, they are desperately clinging to an austerity model that has failed.

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Despite some press spin to contrary, it is clear that if they can get away with it, the Tories will continue to pursue austerity, which will be bad for our economy, society and public services.

In total contrast to the Tories, Labour ran a positive general election campaign and has continued to relentlessly campaign on the same basis since.

This week warnings came from NHS Providers, which represents NHS chief executives, that the NHS may face the worst winter in recent history this year. It is a stark illustration of the consequences of persistent underfunding of public services. Tory MPs will need to explain to thousands of their constituents why such services have run down. 

Additionally, too many people are struggling to get by. Tory Britain is the slowest growing country in the G7, with household spending slowing, the number of young people not in work or education remaining largely unchanged, and millions facing a real terms pay cut under this government. With wages continuing to fall in real terms, Tory cuts to in-work support, and rising prices, many households and families are worse off under this government. 

One of the reasons why Labour’s support grew so much throughout the general election campaign was that not only did we repeatedly expose the Tory record of disappointments, but we also outlined how a better Britain is possible.

Our manifesto “for the many” was full of real solutions to problems created by the Tories. Labour’s policies – a real living wage of £10 per hour, decent homes for all with a million new homes to rent or buy, free education and an end to university tuition fees, moving towards universal childcare by expanding free provision for two, three and four-year-olds, the hiring of new police officers and fire fighters, social care and the NHS properly funded and pensions protected – are chiming more and more with people who have had enough of the idea we can’t build a fairer society.

So, as Parliament returns, let us be clear not only that it is Labour which has a credible programme for government – it is also absolutely clear that a Tory-DUP lash up cannot provide this.

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