Wed, 22 May 2024

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By Lord Watson of Wyre Forest
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'She should lead or leave' - Jeremy Corbyn calls on Theresa May to quit as PM

Liz Bates

3 min read

Jeremy Corbyn has called on Theresa May to quit as Prime Minister, saying: “If she can’t lead, she should leave.” 

Speaking at Prime Minister’s Questions the Labour leader piled fresh pressure on Mrs May following a poor Tory conference performance and an abortive coup attempt.

Mr Corbyn also launched a blistering attack on the Government’s controversial Universal Credit roll-out. 

He told MPs: "Sadly Universal Credit is only one of a string of failures...everywhere you look it's a government in chaos. On the most important issues, it's a shambles - Brexit negotiations, made no progress, Bombardier and other workers facing redundancy, most workers worse off, young people pushed into record levels of debt...our NHS at breaking point.

"This government is more interested in fighting among themselves than solving these problems. Isn't it the case that if the Prime Minister can't lead, she should leave?"

This will come as a further blow to Mrs May who has only just seen off a coup attempt against her, coordinated by former Conservative party chairman, Grant Shapps.


Mr Corbyn also pointed to an intervention over the weekend by Sir John Major, who said the implementation of the flagship welfare reform had been “operationally messy, socially unfair and unforgiving”.

It received further criticism from the Tory back benches today, with South Cambridgeshire MP Heidi Allen calling for a meeting with the Prime Minister to discuss waiting times.

Ms Allen is one of more than 25 Conservative MPs who are reportedly threatening to rebel on the issue, in a major test of Mrs May’s fragile parliamentary majority.  

She said: "There are many of us who feel more people taking those advances must surely mean that the in-built six week wait just doesn't work...would she consider meeting me so I can explain how if we reduce that six-week wait we can support those just-about-managing families?"

This came on the back of the Labour leader’s call to halt the planned roll-out.

“I urge the Prime Minister: pause Universal Credit and stop driving up debt, poverty and homelessness - because that is what it does" he said.


Mr Corbyn also confronted Mrs May over the cost of a helpline for benefit claimants.

"The Prime Minister talks about helping the poorest but the reality is a very, very different story...absurdly the Universal Credit helpline costs claimants 55p per minute for the privilege of trying to get someone to help them claim what they believe they're entitled to. Will the PM intervene today, show some humanity and at least make the helpline free?"

The Prime Minister minister responded by attacking Labour’s record on welfare.

She said: "I think perhaps it is worth us recognising why it is we brought Universal Credit into place...what we want is a welfare system that provides a safety net, that helps people into the workplace, helps people to earn more and provide more for themselves and their families.

"The system we inherited from Labour did not do that, it was far too complicated...and crucially those who earned more, too many of those who earned more found themselves with less money in their pockets..,"

"What we want is Universal Credit which is simpler, more straightforward and makes sure that work always pays."

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Read the most recent article written by Liz Bates - Jeremy Corbyn admits he would rather see a Brexit deal than a second referendum


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