Chris Grayling is Leader of the House of Commons, and MP for Epsom and Ewell.
Today more than two and a half million refugees from Syria are sheltering in Turkey. North Korea has just launched a long-range rocket thought to have been a test of its ballistic missile technology and 46 per cent of people sitting in our prisons will commit another crime within the next year.
These are just some of the challenges affecting us in this febrile world.
This government is taking decisive action in Syria to help provide hope that one day it will be safe for its people to return and live there. We are committed to ensuring that this country’s nuclear deterrent remains in place through investing in Trident. And this week we are outlining substantial prison reform that will build on the work we are doing to help ensure people who commit crimes are able to rebuild their lives outside of prison after they have served their sentence.
This is just a snapshot of why power matters and why the responsibility of it must be taken seriously. The Labour Party’s refusal to realise this shows what a threat they pose to this country. Labour’s main focus at the moment is, for almost the fifth month in a row, infighting.
Since the election of Jeremy Corbyn as its leader the despair on the opposition benches has been palpable. The latest instalment is a leaked document from Momentum, a group linked with Mr Corbyn, containing more plotting on how to push Labour even further to the hard-left and then cement it there.
It’s not just this growing attempt by the hard-left to seize the party machinery that is so striking. The ideas coming out of Labour are more extreme than anything they have proposed in modern times. It’s looking like the first sketches of a manifesto that’s more Socialist Worker than New Labour.
Amidst Labour’s internal bickering it’s hard to make out a single coherent policy in what they are doing. It’s like a collection of all the eccentric ideas that the Labour leadership has put forward from the back benches for thirty years – and suddenly they’ve realised they can turn them into actual Party policy.
On foreign policy they are suggesting peace talks with ISIL and discussing with Argentina about sharing sovereignty of the Falkland Islands.
Their defence review is fast turning into farce with madcap proposals – like leaving NATO or keeping Trident submarines but without nuclear warheads – being set out as within scope then retracted. They’ve even suggested using those same submarines as troop carriers. They seem unable to even decide what to look at let alone what to recommend.
When it comes to Home Affairs they’ve proposed a future without borders, and to admit all the migrants in Calais.
Their economic policy consists of setting out to undo all the progress made towards rebalancing the economy and reducing the deficit. Setting in law when and how companies can pay dividends to their shareholders and scrapping all the trade union legislation that we passed in the 1980s is a recipe for the UK returning to the days of flying pickets and secondary strikes bringing essential services to a halt. Just imagine the train drivers all on strike this week in support of the hospital doctors. And, of course, borrowing forever – which would put our economic security at risk and burden our children with debts they could never hope to repay.
The first test of this new approach is just weeks away, in the London, Welsh, Scottish, PCC and Local Government elections. Labour now represents an extreme that would do profound damage to this country. We need to make sure the electorate knows exactly what they now stand for, and make sure that these new for old ideas get the resounding defeat they deserve.