London Student

John McDonnell: Theresa May’s government is an “elected dictatorship”

Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell yesterday told Labour Assembly Against Austerity that if the Conservatives wanted an early election, they should “bring it on” so Labour can get rid of this government as soon as possible.

McDonnell at the Grants Not Debt demonstration, November 2015

He told an audience at Student Central, on Malet Street, that Theresa May’s government was an “elected dictatorship” and that Labour would win a general election “easily”.

He said: “I find it offensive, to be frank, that they’re reducing parliamentary seats from 650 to 600 while they’re stuffing the House of Lords with over 800 unelected representatives.”

He pledged that in the first 100 days of a Labour government they would scrap the Trade Union Act and laid out an ambitious investment plan, as well as plans to raise the minimum wage.

Other speakers at the conference include Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott MP, Cat Smith MP, Kelvin Hopkins MP, NUS VP (Welfare) Shelly Asquith, Young Labour Chair Caroline Hill, and other activists and academics.

Abbott spoke of her fears that Britain was becoming dangerously divided on issues of race, fueled by anti-immigrant rhetoric from the Conservative government.

She said: “We are at a moment of great peril, but a moment of great opportunity. The peril is that post-Brexit, this government will deliberately choose to learn all the wrong lessons and take us in a disastrous economic direction and take us on a right-wing shift on issues of race and migration.”

She added later: “It seems to me that, if you know anything about David Davis and Liam Fox and, God knows, Boris Johnson, they want to turn us into some fog-shrouded, offshore island, low wage, low regulation, low opportunity, a sort of Western European version of Singapore.

“That offers nothing for the British people and in particular no hope or opportunity for our young people.”

Abbott speaking at the Don't Bomb Syria rally, November 2015. Photo: flickr/Gary Knight

During an afternoon session titled Health and Education – A Right Not A Privilege, Danielle Tiplady of the #BursaryOrBust campaign, spoke of how trainee nurses now pay to work in the NHS.

She explained: “Students in London will pay approximately £26 per hour to work with our society’s most vulnerable.

“Nursing should be for those who care, not for those who can afford it.”

And Lara McNeill, a medical student and chair of KCL Labour Society, said: “People think that, because we have an NHS free at the point of use, we have fair healthcare for all.

“But our health is still impacted by our education, our wealth, our housing… The wider health budget as we know it has not been protected.”

Additional reporting by Will Ing.

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Emma Yeomans

emma.yeomans@londonstudent.coop

Classics student at UCL; news fangirl at London Student. Student Publication Association's Best Reporter 2016.