Labour is to table an amendment to the British Queen’s Speech calling for the 1% public sector pay cap and cuts to the police and emergency services to end.
Jeremy Corbyn added that the amendment, which will be voted on Wednesday, will be a “test case” of MPs’ willingness to oppose further austerity measures, BBC reported.
The Labour leader will say firefighters who fought the Grenfell Tower blaze “deserve” a rise after seven years of near stagnation. The Conservatives are expected to win a vote with Democratic Unionist support.
It comes as Corbyn prepares to face Theresa May on Wednesday in the first Prime Minister’s Questions since the election.
May has been under pressure since losing her Commons majority, while Corbyn has urged Labour to remain in campaign mode, reportedly saying he could be in power within six months.
MPs will be asked to approve the Queen’s Speech, the government’s legislative program for the next two years, in the House of Commons on Thursday. This will effectively amount to a vote of confidence in May’s minority government.
The Conservatives’ deal with the Democratic Unionists, which will see the Northern Ireland party’s 10 MPs line up behind the government in key votes, gives them a working majority of 13 and means they are in little danger of losing.
But Corbyn will seek to increase pressure on the government by forcing a separate vote on Wednesday on the issue of continued austerity, about which some Tory MPs have expressed concerns.
He will say public sector workers have been “denied” a pay rise for seven years and this “must change”.
Labour’s amendment praises the response of the emergency services to the deadly fire in the west London tower block, which killed at least 79 people, as well as to the terror attacks in London and Manchester.
But it calls on the government to recruit more police officers and firefighters and to give the emergency services and other public sector workers a “fair pay rise”.
Corbyn rejected suggestions he was trying to make political capital out of the Grenfell fire, pointing out that the party had called for higher pay and an end to cuts before the disaster.
“I would have thought the Grenfell fire has concentrated the minds of a lot of people on the wonderful work done by the police, fire and ambulance services,” he said.
Caption: Jeremy Corbyn