'Face like thunder': Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn walk side-by-side to Queen's speech

20 December 2019, 07:18 | Updated: 20 December 2019, 07:41

Smiles: The prime minister grins at a solemn-looking Jeremy Corbyn
Smiles: The prime minister grins at a solemn-looking Jeremy Corbyn. Picture: PA

An angry-looking Jeremy Corbyn walked through the House of Commons next to Boris Johnson as they arrived to listen to the Queen’s speech today.

Mr Johnson was seen smiling from ear-to-ear - but stony-faced Mr Corbyn bore a frown and did not speak to the Prime Minister.

Mr Johnson’s Conservative party defeated Mr Corbyn’s Labour Party with a majority of 80 seats in the general election last week, prompting Mr Corbyn to announce that he will stand down in early 2020.

Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn walk side-by-side through the Commons.
Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn walk side-by-side through the Commons. Picture: PA

At one point during their uncomfortable walk side-by-side Mr Corbyn appeared to ignore a comment made be the prime minister.

Addressing the Commons on day one of the Queen's Speech debate, Mr Johnson said his Government "will work flat out" to deliver "a new golden age" for the United Kingdom.

Mr Johnson added: "This is not a programme for one year or one Parliament, it is a blueprint for the future of Britain.

"Just imagine where this country could be in 10 years' time - trade deals across the world, creating jobs across the UK, 40 new hospitals, great schools in every community, and the biggest transformation of our infrastructure since the Victorian Age."

He continued: "And I do not think it vainglorious or implausible to say that a new golden age for this United Kingdom is now within reach and in spite of the scoffing, in spite of the negativity, in spite of the scepticism that you will hear from the other side, we will work flat out to deliver it."

Mr Johnson joked Mr Corbyn was a "stickler for watching the Queen's Speech at the right time", a nod to a mistake made by the Opposition leader during the election about his Christmas television viewing habits, before noting the pair had enjoyed "excellent" personal relations.

The Queen laid out Mr Johnson's plans in the latest State Opening of Parliament.
The Queen laid out Mr Johnson's plans in the latest State Opening of Parliament. Picture: PA
The two party leaders pictured at the opening of Parliament today.
The two party leaders pictured at the opening of Parliament today. Picture: PA

He also joked: "Certain members of his shadow cabinet on the other hand are absolutely clear where the responsibility of the election result lies - the voters of the country have let their side down.

"They have forfeited the confidence of the Opposition and the time has come for Labour to take the only possible step - dissolve the electorate and replace it with a new one.

"At least I think that's what the lady for Islington South and Finsbury (Emily Thornberry) said."

On the "colossal sense of obligation" to voters, Mr Johnson said: "To those people who lent us their votes, however hesitantly, this Government will now engage flat-out on a programme of change for the better."

Concluding, the Prime Minister added: "I say to the people of this country, we owe you, we know it and we will deliver.

"And we have now the energy, we have the ideas, we have the mandate, we have the people and we will spare no efforts to fulfil that mandate."

This is the second time in as many months there has been a state opening of Parliament.
This is the second time in as many months there has been a state opening of Parliament. Picture: PA

Mr Corbyn earlier criticised the impact of austerity on millions of people in the country, adding: "The communities to whom the Prime Minister made his promises will now judge him on whether he keeps them.

"In this Queen's Speech, the Government has tried to mimic some of the priorities and, interestingly, much of the language of Labour policy but without the substance - on austerity, on investment, on regional inequality and on the National Health Service, we can see how we forced the terrain to shift."

At this point, one Tory MP shouted: "It's all blue."

Mr Corbyn went on: "They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, even when it's a very pale imitation, but I fear those swayed by the Prime Minister's promises will be sorely disappointed."

He also said the Government's proposals are "woefully inadequate for the scale of problems that this country faces", adding the NHS is "on its knees due to this Tory Government".

Referring to the proposal to enshrine the funding settlement in law, he added: "Enough of the gimmicks, just fund it properly."

On Brexit, he said: "The election result demonstrated a strong determination from many people across our country to end the mess and paralysis of the last three years."

Mr Corbyn concluded: "As this Government ploughs ahead with its programme of gimmicks and false promises, we will be holding them to account every step of the way and campaigning inside and outside Parliament and across this country for the real change that this Government sadly will not deliver but our country so desperately needs."

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