• Saturday, Dec 14, 2019
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Corbyn accuses Johnson's Brexit plans 'Thatcherism on steroids'

  • Published at 09:18 pm November 5th, 2019
Jeremy Corbyn-Labour Party leader
Britain's Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn delivers his keynote speech at the Labour Party Conference in Liverpool, Britain, September 26, 2018 Reuters

Corbyn is proposing an overthrow of what he casts as a venal elite led by Johnson which he says wants to use Brexit as a Trojan horse to turn the United Kingdom into a deregulated paradise for global capital

British opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn accused Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday of seeking to hijack Brexit to unleash a Thatcherite bonfire of regulation that would usher in what he cast as a much harsher brand of American-style capitalism.

Britain is heading towards a deeply unpredictable Christmas election on December 12 that could decide the fate of both its planned departure from the European Union and the future of the world's fifth-largest economy.

Corbyn, a 70-year old socialist campaigner, is proposing an overthrow of what he casts as a venal elite led by Johnson which he says wants to use Brexit as a Trojan horse to turn the United Kingdom into a deregulated paradise for global capital.

He invoked the memory of late Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and said Johnson wanted to strike a trade deal with US President Donald Trump that would sell off parts of the National Health Service (NHS).

"What Boris Johnson's Conservatives want is to hijack Brexit to unleash Thatcherism on steroids," Corbyn told supporters in Harlow, a suburb northeast of London which voted strongly in favour of leaving the EU in the 2016 referendum. The nationwide margin was 52%-48% in favour of Leave.

"A vote for Johnson's Conservatives is a vote to betray our NHS in a sell-out to Trump," he said, to chants of "not for sale, not for sale" from the audience.

"They want a race to the bottom in standards and protections. They want to move us towards a more deregulated American model of how to run the economy."

"Iron Lady" Thatcher radically transformed the British economy along free-market lines but was hated by some voters for crushing the trade unions and privatising swathes of industry.

Johnson has repeatedly said the NHS would not be on the table in trade talks. One of his most senior ministers, Michael Gove, said Corbyn's assertion that American drug companies could carve up parts of the NHS was "the most ridiculous nonsense I have ever heard in my 52 years on this earth."

Last week, Trump, who has previously said everything should be negotiable in trade talks, denied Labour's claims that the NHS would be up for grabs.