Politics

Corbyn blasts May's inequality record amid Brexit chaos

The PM and Labour leader clash as Commons debates a no-confidence motion brought against May’s government

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has launched a furious attack on UK Prime Minister Theresa May‘s record on national inequality.

The pair butted heads during Prime Minister’s Questions, the day that after Corbyn tabled a no-confidence motion against May’s government following their thumping defeat in the vote over May’s proposed Brexit deal.

Corbyn said in the House of Commons: “Four million working people are living in poverty. There are half a million more children in poverty compared to 2010.

“The Rowntree Foundation confirms in-work poverty is rising faster than the overall employment rate. With poverty rising, can the Prime Minister tell us when we can expect it to fall – for the time she remains in office?”

May retaliated with absolute poverty figures – based on 2011’s median income – while Corbyn had been referencing relative poverty numbers (people who earn below 60 per cent of the current median household income). “We now see one million fewer people in absolute poverty,” she said. “That is a record low. We see 300,000 fewer children in absolute poverty. That is a record low.”

The PM also claimed that income inequality is lower than at any point under the last Labour government, and said a Corbyn-led Westminster would cost UK households £35,000 each.

The debate follows May’s huge parliamentary defeat when the Commons rejected her EU withdrawal agreement by 432 votes to 202. This triggered Corbyn’s no-confidence motion – though the government is expected to survive it with the help of the DUP.

The Labour leader has threatened to continue bringing no-confidence votes to parliament if this one is unsuccessful, and said he believes an immediate general election would be the best outcome for the country.

When asked if it would still be possible to pass an alternative deal through parliament before leaving the EU, Justice Secretary David Gauke said: “It’s still possible, but it is very tight. We don’t have a lot of spare time, frankly.

“I think we’ve got days before we will start to run out of parliamentary time. I hope we can meet that timing.”

No matter what happens in parliament or during the Brexit ahead, The Big Issue will keep on fighting inequality and supporting our vendors across the UK.

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