Unite blasted the Tories as “the party of no-one” after Theresa May’s conference speech in which she made a desperate attempt to rally her fractious MPs behind her Brexit approach, declaring the Conservatives need to be “a party for the whole country”.
In a glaring bid to grab headlines, May pledged “austerity is over” before walking back on the promise by adding the caveat that government spending will be reviewed “when we’ve secured a Brexit deal for Britain”.
With the very real possibility that May will fail to secure a deal with the EU or return to Parliament with one that MPs will not accept because it will damage the UK, the Prime Minister will likely have enough room to wriggle out of the commitment even if she wants to keep it.
Conscious of Boris Johnson’s leadership bid in the guise of suggesting a “super Canada” Brexit deal, May pleaded for Tory MPs to come together under her leadership.
She said, “We have had disagreements in this party about Britain’s membership of the EU for a long time.
“So, it is no surprise that we have had a range of different views expressed this week.
“But my job as Prime Minister is to do what I believe to be in the national interest.”
May then used the cudgel of a potential Labour government led by Jeremy Corbyn to try and instil discipline over Brexit into her mutinous troops.
In a sign of how worried the Tories are about being ousted by Labour because of their disastrous handling of the EU talks, May launched a series of personal attacks on Corbyn, describing his leadership of the party as a “national tragedy” before rounding on Labour’s Brexit position.
May said, “Even if we do not all agree on every part of [my Brexit proposal], we need to come together. Because it’s time we faced up to what is at risk.
“We have a Labour Party that, if they were in government, would accept any deal the EU chose to offer, regardless of how bad it is for the UK.
“But who also say they’ll oppose any deal I choose to bring back, regardless of how good it is for the UK.”
Unite general secretary Len McCluskey was scathingly critical of May’s speech.
He said, “With so much of her speech devoted to attacks on and lies about Jeremy Corbyn and Labour policies Theresa May showed she’s run out of road.
“Utterly devoid of the solutions our communities need, far from being the party of everyone the Tories are fast becoming the party of no one.”