Ed Miliband leads Queen's Speech criticism

 

Ed Miliband today led criticism of the Queen's Speech, claiming it lacked plans to kick-start the economy or cut the jobless total.

Speaking in the Commons, he accused the Government of failing to offer proposals to boost growth, telling MPs: "They still don't get it."

The Labour leader said the Tories and Liberal Democrats had taken no notice of the voters' message at last Thursday's local elections.

He said: "For a young person looking for work, the speech offers nothing.

"For a family whose living standards are being squeezed, this speech offers nothing.

"For the millions of people who think the Government isn't on their side, this speech offers nothing."

He said the Government had created "the worst unemployment for 16 years, a million young people out of work and the first double-dip recession for 37 years".

"They promised recovery but they delivered recession - a recession made in Downing Street. They have failed," said Mr Miliband.

"No change, no hope - that is the real message of this Queen's Speech."

He said electors deserted the coalition parties at last week's poll because they understood ministers' economic policy "only too well".

But he said Labour backed the Government's plans for a Green Investment Bank, reforming libel laws and to help mothers and fathers share parental leave - but claimed the credit for such policies.

He said they "sound remarkably like Labour ideas - because they are Labour ideas".

Mr Miliband accused the Prime Minister of failing to introduce legislation to curtail excessive boardroom pay, telling MPs there was nothing in the Queen's Speech about forcing companies to appoint a worker to every remuneration committee.

He said Tory MP Nadine Dorries (Mid Bedfordshire), who described Mr Cameron and Chancellor George Osborne as "two arrogant posh boys", could be appointed to the Government's own committee.

Mr Miliband said that if Mr Cameron's really "gets it", he would have dropped the plan to cut the 50p tax rate.

"They believe, they really believe, that their problems are not to do with policy, their problems are to do with public relations," Mr Miliband said.

"They just don't get it. It's not the presentation of tax cuts for millionaires, it's the reality - £40,000 for every millionaire in Britain. It's not the presentation of cuts in tax credits, it's the reality. The granny tax, the churches tax, the charities tax, the whole Budget omnishambles. It's not the presentation, it's the reality.

"Yes, they do have a communication problem, as the Prime Minister said this morning, the electorate have spoken but they're not listening."

And Mr Miliband criticised the Prime Minister for referring to what were described as austerity cuts as "efficiency" savings.

Turning to the Prime Minister, he joked: "In two years, you have gone from David Cameron to David Brent. That's the reality."

Mr Miliband said the Government had nothing in its forthcoming legislative programme to "relieve the squeeze on ordinary families".

He added: "A few months ago, you said you were outraged by crony capitalism, you were grossly offended, that it wasn't what you believed in.

"Such was your strength of feeling the entire issue did not merit a single mention. Not a single mention on executive pay. But I have a recommendation for you. What you should do is accept the recommendation of the High Pay Commission to put an ordinary worker on the remuneration committee of every company in Britain.

"Because I say this, if you cannot look one of your employees in the eye to justify that you're worth it, you shouldn't be getting the salary. Come to think of it, why don't you start with the Government and I have the ideal candidate for the employee on the board judging the cabinet. She stands ready to serve, (Nadine Dorries).

"And let us remind ourselves why she is so well qualified. This is what she said: 'They are two arrogant posh boys (Mr Cameron and Mr Osborne), who show no remorse, no contrition, and no compassion to understand the lives of others'.

"She's only saying what so many people are thinking. It's high time the shareholder spring came to the Conservative Party."

Mr Miliband also criticised the Government for rowing back on a promise to introduce legislation to tackle the problem of a growing crisis in the care of the elderly and attacked ministers for being undecided about whether reform of the House of Lords was a priority.

The Government also failed to act to deal with lobbying. Despite three scandals, there was no Bill, he said.

And he joked Mr Cameron was "one of the few people left" who did not think he was a "core participant" in the Leveson Inquiry in to Press Standards.

"You hired the editor, you sent the texts, you even rode the horse and your Culture Secretary backed the bid," Mr Miliband chided the Prime Minister. "It doesn't get much more core than that.

"This isn't just a Westminster story because it shows whose side you're on."

PA

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