LABOUR will seize on Tory infighting over Europe to reverse some of the government’s worst welfare cuts, shadow chancellor John McDonnell has told the Morning Star.
In an interview at the TUC’s disabled workers’ conference, Mr McDonnell vowed to capitalise on the “crumbling” government to try to reinstate disability benefits.
He said: “We are defeating the Tories all the time in a continuous array of defeats, we are going to push them back all we can.
“The Tories are crumbling and ripping each other apart, they can’t hold a majority in Parliament, they certainly can’t hold a majority in the Lords.
“We are going to start pushing them now on reversing some of these [benefit] cuts to try to see whether or not we can divide them, and on that basis win some of these votes.
“It will be difficult, but we are going to try.”
Mr McDonnell also shared his fears that an exit from the European Union now would let the Tories “off the leash” to further attack Britain’s most vulnerable.
While he respected other views, he said: “We have to wake up to the reality that the day after the referendum there will still be a Tory government.
“We will lose the protections we have in Europe and as a result of that we will be victims of a Tory government cutting benefits, undermining basic rights,” he argued.
“My fear is, as always, the most vulnerable will suffer the most, and the people this government is targeting in particular for the last six years are disabled people.
“So I am really fearful — and this is not ‘project fear,’ it’s my estimate of what will happen if the Tories are let off the leash.”
Mr McDonnell will flesh out his vision for a “new economics” in a conference he is hosting in London today.
“What we are trying to make is create a society which is more equal, which is fairer, more democratic, based upon a prosperous economy where prosperity is sustainable, environmentally and economically, but shared by all,” he added.
“We will discuss the architecture of the policy-making and the objectives and targets that we want to see to implement it, but also look at one of the details of where we move to next on issues around taxation and long-term investment, but also in terms of democratising our economy.”