Owen Smith says that under the Conservatives Britain is the "sick man leaving Europe"

James Nickerson
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Labour MP Owen Smith Launches His Leadership Bid
Smith said the government needs to invest in new industries (Source: Getty)

Labour leadership contender Owen Smith has said that under the Conservatives Britain is the "sick man leaving Europe", adding that the country is too dependent on the City and financial services.

Speaking in Newcastle, Smith said that action taken by the Bank of England last week shows the British economy is on a cliff edge, requiring an urgent response from government that isn't forthcoming under Theresa May's government.

Read more: Jeremy Corbyn given boost after Labour members win court case

Smith said: “The unprecedented action taken by the Bank of England to cut interest rates to a 300-year low and expand quantitative easing shows that the British economy is on the cliff edge of another recession, with ordinary people, again, set to pay the price.

Under the Tories, we face the prospect of our country being the sick man leaving Europe - unless urgent action is taken by government.

I will not allow the UK to fall coughing and spluttering out of the EU door. I am resolute that the British people must be offered an opportunity to sign-off the terms of a Tory deal on Europe.

It would be wrong to give Liam Fox, Boris Johnson and David Davis a blank cheque to set the terms on the future of our economy, workers’ rights and environmental protections.

The contender went on to state that the UK's manufacturing base needs to be expanded: "For too long, successive governments have allowed our economy to be too reliant on financial services and the creation of insecure, low-skilled, and low-paid jobs."

He added that the government needs to safeguard and enhance sectors such as the automotive industry but also invest in new industries including renewable energy and the creative industries.

Read more: McDonnell has accused Smith supporters of threatening to divide Labour

Smith was speaking after five Labour members won a court case against the party over new members' right to vote in the leadership election.

The news means that new Labour party members will be able to vote in the contest, speculated to be to the benefit of incumbent Jeremy Corbyn.

While the news was a blow to Smith, who is already the underdog, he received some better news today as Usdaw, the shopworkers' trade union, nominated him for the leadership of the party.

Smith also used the speech to hit out at Corbyn, stating he is a leader who "didn't deliver" on promises made.

"Great at slogans, useless at solutions. Great at talking about forging a united Labour movement but he has done the opposite. He's fractured it," he said.

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