UK Politics

Reality Check: Has Labour defeated the government 22 times?

Jeremy Corbyn saying: In the past 10 months we have defeated the government 22 times in Parliament.

The claim: Jeremy Corbyn says that the Labour Party has defeated the government in Parliament 22 times in the last 10 months.

Reality Check verdict: Some of the items on the list were defeats for the government in the Commons or the Lords. Some were changes to government policy rather than defeats in Parliament, involving greater or lesser amounts of involvement from the Labour Party.

At the first Labour leadership hustings debate in Cardiff on Thursday, Jeremy Corbyn said that when the party worked together, it could win.

"In the past 10 months we have defeated the government 22 times in Parliament," he said.

The Reality Check team contacted Mr Corbyn's office to ask for the list, and was sent a list of 24 defeats.

Some of them are indeed occasions on which Labour, with support from other parties, managed to defeat the government in Parliament.

There are some unambiguous Commons defeats such as in March this year, when government plans to allow English and Welsh councils to extend Sunday opening hours were defeated by 317 votes to 286.

The list also includes things like tax credits, on which the government defeat actually came in the House of Lords. Last month, in an interview with BuzzFeed News, Labour's leader in the House of Lords, Baroness Smith, who is supporting Owen Smith to be Labour leader, said Mr Corbyn should stop taking credit for victories in the Lords that had nothing to do with him.

She said she had not had any conversations with the party leader about either tax credits or the housing bill, which was also on the list.

Nonetheless, these are still defeats inflicted on the government in Parliament.

There are also several examples on the list of situations in which the government changed its policy without actually being defeated in the Commons.

The Labour Party was more involved in some of those campaigns than others.

So, for example, when the government decided not to force all schools to become academies, it followed a campaign by parents, head teachers, and some Conservatives, but also Labour.

Similarly, many would argue that the last straw in the campaign against cuts to Personal Independence Payments was the resignation of Iain Duncan Smith, but Labour was also involved.

But it is less clear that they count as defeats for the government in Parliament.

Finally, there are examples of changes to government plans that seem to have less to do with the Labour Party.

Chancellor George Osborne's decision not to make changes to pensions tax relief seemed to have more to do with pressure from within his own party than from the opposition.

Similarly, the decision not to ban poppers as part of a ban on legal highs does not appear to have been much to do with Labour.



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