Jeremy Corbyn ready to '˜reach out' to Labour rebel MPs

Jeremy Corbyn has said he is ready to 'reach out' to Labour MPs critical of his leadership if he is returned as party leader on Saturday.

Jeremy Corbyn says he is ready to listen to Labour MPs. Picture: Getty Images
Jeremy Corbyn says he is ready to listen to Labour MPs. Picture: Getty Images

Mr Corbyn – widely expected to retain the leadership in the ballot of Labour members – confirmed he was prepared to give Labour MPs a say in choosing at least some members of the shadow cabinet.

Despite continuing criticism from some in the party, he insisted there were signs it was beginning to come together around his anti-austerity agenda and opposition to Theresa May’s plans to bring back grammar schools.

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He said the large turnout at his leadership rallies – with thousands attending events around the country – showed that he could lead the party to victory in a general election.

His comments are, however, unlikely to convince critics such as former leader Lord Kinnock, who has said he fears that he will never live to see another Labour government if Mr Corbyn remains leader.

Mr Corbyn – who received an overwhelming vote of no confidence from Labour MPs – indicated he wanted to build bridges with his critics. “Of course I am going to reach out to them as I have reached out to them in the past. I have made it my business to talk to quite a lot of Labour MPs and will continue to do so,” he said yesterday.

“I hope they will understand we were elected as Labour MPs, it is a huge honour and responsibility, and we have got to try and deliver for the people.

“It doesn’t mean that everybody agrees on everything all the time – that I understand. But the general direction of opposition to austerity, opposing the Tories on grammar schools – those are the kinds of things that actually unite the party these days.”

Despite trailing the Conservatives in the opinion polls, Mr Corbyn insisted the national mood was beginning to change and that the supporters who turned out for his rallies could provide the basis of future campaign efforts.

“That means there’s an interest in politics. That then becomes, surely, a very strong campaigning basis for the Labour movement, becomes a campaigning factor in towns and cities where there’s never been very much activity before,” he said.

“That does begin to change the debate and national mood. I think you’ll begin to see that play out, particularly in local elections next year.”