Thursday, September 24, 2015

The Labour leader said that he would set up a 'ministry for employment rights' if he becomes Prime Minister with 'a positive rights-at-work agenda'

Photo: EPA

Jeremy Corbyn has pledged to set up a "ministry for employment rights” and scrap Margaret Thatcher's anti-strike laws if he becomes Prime Minister.

Mr Corbyn also said that ideas to scrap Trident and to allow moderate Labour MPs to be purged will become policy if they are backed by members at the party’s conference next week.

The new “ministry for employment rights” - which already risks being dubbed a 'ministry for unions' - would have “a positive rights-at-work agenda” and sit alongside the existing Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

Photo: Getty Images

He told the New Statesman magazine: “A Labour government would have an equivalent of a ministry of employment, employment rights.

“That’s the area we’re looking at. I don’t know what we’d call it. It shouldn’t just be part of [the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills].”

Mr Corbyn also said that he would scrap Margaret Thatcher's anti-unions strike laws, which could see the return of flying pickets and 'solidarity strike action'.

Asked if he would scrap Mrs Thatcher's anti-strike laws - as well as opposing the Tory Government's current Trade Union Bill - he said: "Yes, I do".

In his first major interview as Labour leader, Mr Corbyn also confirmed that he would support supported Ireland and Northern Ireland merging to create a single united Ireland.

Jeremy Corbyn at his London home on Saturday Photo: Nick Edwards/The Telegraph

Asked “if you support a united Ireland”, he replied: “It’s an aspiration that I have always gone along with”.

Mr Corbyn’s anti-nuclear stance has caused friction in the shadow cabinet, with deputy leader Tom Watson among others who back Trident renewal.

The highly controversial issue of unilateral nuclear disarmament will be debated at the Brighton conference on Monday and then put to a vote split evenly between Labour members and trade union delegates.

Asked whether scrapping Trident would become party policy if conference votes for it, Mr Corbyn said: “Well, it would be, of course, because it would have been passed at conference.”

Mr Corbyn reaffirmed Labour's opposition to the Government's Welfare Bill, including the reduction in the level of the benefits cap from £26,000 to £23,000 in London and £20,000 outside London.

Mr Corbyn said: “It’s what I've put forward as leader and I've made that very clear... We will now oppose completely the Welfare Reform (and Work) Bill.

“In my own constituency, the benefit cap has had the effect of social cleansing, of people receiving benefit but the benefit is capped; therefore, they can't meet the rent levels charged and are forced to move.

“It’s devastating for children, devastating for the family and very bad for the community as a whole.”

Iain Duncan Smith, the Work and Pensions secretary, said: “After days of confusion and chaos, it’s now clear the new Labour leader wants to scrap the benefit cap – going back to the old system of unlimited welfare handouts.

“Conservatives believe that nobody should be able to claim more in welfare than the average family earns by going out to work.

“By pledging to reverse this position, it’s clear that today’s Labour Party are simply not on the side of working people. They are still the same old welfare party – wanting to borrow more to spend more on benefits.”


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