Jeremy Corbyn accuses Theresa May of ‘watering down’ Labour policies in conference speech

Posted On: 
4th October 2017

Jeremy Corbyn has said the content of Theresa May’s set piece conference speech amounted to a “watering down" of Labour pledges.

Mr Corbyn said Mrs May had "rehashed polices" and watered down some of Labour's.
PA Images

In a swipe following her address to the Tory party faithful, he tweeted: "In July, #TheresaMay asked for policy ideas so I sent her our manifesto. Taking a few of our policies & watering them down won't work."

The opposition leader commented above a Tweet he sent at the time, in which he is pictured sending the Prime Minister a copy of Labour’s manifesto.

Theresa May unveils energy price cap plan as prankster and coughing fit mar conference speech

Tory MPs rally round Theresa May: Voice battle 'electrified' PM's speech

ANALYSIS: Theresa May's 'British Dream' speech turns into a nightmare

That dig came in response to Mrs May's post-election plea for other parties to contribute ideas, after the Conservatives' humiliating loss of their majority.

Labour added that today's speech in Manchester was one of “empty rhetoric, rehashed policies and failure”, while singling out criticism for some of the headline pledges on housing and energy.

They said the promise to spend £2bn on building new homes would deliver only a “paltry 5,000 homes a year”, while the move to cap household energy bills “doesn’t even go as far” as Mrs May's pledge during the election campaign.

The party said the Prime Minister had ignored issues on the NHS, in spite of an impending “winter crisis”, her “arbitrary net migration target” of bringing entrants into Britain down to the hundreds of thousands and on issues which affect pensioners and the disabled.

“Today’s speech from Theresa May was meant to be a relaunch of her failing premiership, and a relaunch of the Conservatives as a party with a plan,” they said.

“But, all we’ve heard is a re-hash of old policies, watered down versions of Labour ideas and lacklustre proposals. It confirmed the Conservative’s failure and revealed they have no plan to reverse the damage of the last seven years.

“Of the few announcements she did make, all we got were watered down versions of Labour’s ideas and rehashed policies.


Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell said the pledges would cost around £15bn, which Mrs May has not openly costed.

“By the time the current leader of the Conservative Party eventually finished speaking, she had a total of £15bn in spending commitments just in this Parliament without a single reference to how the money will be found to pay for them. The Tory magical money tree returns,” he said.

The speech was overshadowed by a major security breach, in which a TV prankster handed the Prime Minister a mock P45 on stage, before she struggled on with a persistent cough.

But Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable said the Prime Minister had been “brave” in the face of a warring cabinet over Brexit and reports of internal leadership plots.

“This was the speech of a brave Prime Minister struggling on, while her disloyal Cabinet colleagues openly plot against her,” he said.

"Rows over Brexit have left Theresa May only able to tinker around the edges of the great challenges the country faces, from the housing crisis to the future of the NHS.

“The conference season has shown both the Conservatives and Labour are bitterly divided, with the more moderate factions overwhelmed by their ideological extremes.”

SNP Westminster leader, Ian Blackford cited the speech’s theme of a “British dream”, which he said amounted to a “Tory nightmare”.

He said: "Theresa May’s speech – beset with problems and protests – proved the 'British dream' is a Tory nightmare for families and communities hit by years of endless austerity, cuts and low economic growth.