JEREMY Corbyn launching his official campaign to remain the leader of the Labour Party promised to ‘hold out the hand of friendship’ to the MPs who opposed him.
Speaking at the UCL Institute of Education, he said: ‘Come September, when this election is done and dusted, it is the job, it is the duty, it is the responsibility of every Labour MP to get behind the party.’
However, during the question and answer session, he gave a warning to all those Labour MPs who plotted against him.
He was responding to a question about what would happen if new constituency boundaries were in place before 2020.
Corbyn said yesterday: ‘So there will be a full and open selection process for every constituency Labour Party through the whole of the UK.’
He added: ‘There would be a full selection process in every constituency but the sitting MP … would have an opportunity to put their name forward.’
In the past 48 hours, 183,000 people have signed up to vote in the ballot which pits Jeremy Corbyn against Owen Smith. That increase is more than the entire membership of the Conservative Party. He began his speech highlighting the progress the Labour Party has made in the last ten months.
Corbyn said: ‘Labour is stronger, we have won every parliamentary by-election we have faced, three of them with greatly increased majorities. We overtook the Tories in the May elections. We won all four mayoral contests – in Liverpool and Salford, in London for the first time since 2004 and in Bristol for the first time ever. We also won Bristol Council for the first time since 2003.
‘Our party membership has gone from below 200,000 just over a year ago … to over half a million today. And we have welcomed back the Fire Brigades Union into our Labour family.’
He concluded his speech by outlining a programme to tackle discrimination in the workplace. Corbyn said: ‘Young workers are institutionally discriminated against, not entitled to the full minimum wage, not entitled to equal rates of housing benefit and so many are now saddled with huge student debts.’
He added: ‘We are calling time on discrimination and, as we know from the minimum wage, proper enforcement matters and makes the difference. So we are also committing to fund the Equalities and Human Rights Commission to monitor employers’ equality pay audits, to take action where required to eradicate discrimination; and to fine employers that do not provide them.’
He concluded: ‘Over the next couple of months, our campaign will set out how we plan to defeat the Tories and elect a Labour government that will act to tame the forces holding people back: of inequality, neglect, insecurity, prejudice and discrimination. And to build a society in which no one and no community is left behind.’