PMQs: Johnson slams Starmer for Labour and Tory 'difference'
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Boris Johnson hit out at Labour leader Keir Starmer as he said his Government is “keeping the Army at 100,000”. The Prime Minister told MPs: “We’re been getting on with the job of recruiting more, 20,000 more police. They’re out on the streets shouting at demonstrations shouting Kill the Bill.
“That’s the difference between his party and my party.
“We’re pro-VAT and low tax and when it comes to defence we’ve got your backs.”
Speaker Lindsay Hoyle interjected: “I do not believe any MP would support that Kill the Bill.
“I’ve got to be very clear.
“We’re all united in this house in the support and protection the police offer us and nobody would shy away from that.”
Sir Keir challenged Boris Johnson to put his plans for the armed forces to a vote in Parliament.
He had previously said: “The Prime Minister might want to avoid the promises he made but I’ve found an interview he gave during the general election campaign, under the headline, here’s the headline, ‘no troop cuts – Tories will maintain size of armed forces’.
“It then goes on to quote the Prime Minister – ‘Boris Johnson has promised that he will not make any new cuts to the armed forces’, he also promised – you might want to listen to this Prime Minister – he also promised to maintain numbers at their current level including the Army’s 82,000.
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“Now I know the Prime Minister has got form for making up quotes, but can he tell us – does he think the newspapers have somehow misquoted him or does he now remember making that promise?”
The Prime Minister replied: “Yes because there will be no redundancies in our armed forces and I said to him if you include reserves we are even keeping the Army at 100,000.
“But on top of that we are doing what is necessary to modernise our armed forces.”
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Sir Keir asked Mr Johnson if he will do “whatever is necessary” to protect jobs in the British steel industry.
He told the Commons: “5,000 jobs are at risk at Liberty Steel with many more in the supply chain. The UK steel industry is under huge pressure and the Government’s failure to prioritise British steel in infrastructure projects is costing millions of pounds in investment.
“So will the Prime Minister now commit to working with us and the trade unions to change this absurd situation to put British steel first and do whatever is necessary to protect those jobs?”
Mr Johnson responded: “Of course (I’m) happy to co-operate in any way but the steel output halved under the Labour government. I share very much the anxiety of families with steelworkers who work in Liberty Steel.
“And that’s why the Business Secretary has had I think three meetings just in the last few days with Liberty Steel to take the question forward, see what we can do. We are actively engaged, we’re investing huge sums in modernising British steel.”
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