Jeremy Corbyn tells Labour: 'Get ready for government within a year'

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Labour should prepare to be in government within a year, Jeremy Corbyn has told delegates in his speech closing party's conference in Liverpool.

Mr Corbyn said Labour would vote down Theresa May's Brexit deal and force a general election, warning the Prime Minister: "If you can’t negotiate that deal then you need to make way for a party that can, and will."

The Labour leader sought to appeal to alienated and angry voters left behind by the UK economy, promising a "radical plan to rebuild and transform our country", including handing over shares in public companies to their employees.

READ MORE: Jeremy Corbyn: Labour’s ‘green revolution’ will bring UK 400,000 jobs

But Mr Corbyn risked inflaming existing controversies within Labour, stopping short of issuing an apology in the long-running row over his handling of antisemitism claims, and pledging that a Labour government would immediately recognise the state of Palestine.

"When we meet this time next year let it be as a Labour government," Mr Corbyn said at the end of a speech interrupted by applause and cheers over 100 times. "Let every constituency, every community know Labour is ready."

Closing a conference that saw Labour significantly shift its policy on Brexit, embracing the possibility of a second EU referendum, Mr Corbyn appeared reluctant to widen divisions on an issue that splits his party.

The Labour leader confirmed his party would "vote against the Chequers plan or whatever is left of it and oppose leaving the EU with no deal", adding that a no deal Brexit would be "inconceivable" and "a national disaster".

To a huge ovation, he said: "That is why if Parliament votes down a Tory deal or the government fails to reach any deal at all, we would press for a general election." The applause nearly drowned out the following line, spoken much more quietly: "Failing that, all options are on the table."

Mr Corbyn addressed the controversy that has seen him branded an antisemite by one of his own MPs, saying the row had "caused immense hurt and anxiety in the Jewish community and great dismay in the Labour Party.

"But I hope we can work together to draw a line under it. I say this to all in the Jewish community: This party, this movement, will always be implacable campaigners against antisemitism and racism in all its forms."

On foreign policy, Mr Corbyn described the construction of Jewish settlements in the West Bank and the deadly blockade of Gaza by Israeli troops as an "outrage".

"We support a two-state solution to the conflict with a secure Israel and a viable and secure Palestinian state," the Labour leader said. But a quarter of a century on from the Oslo Accords we are no closer to justice or peace and the Palestinian tragedy continues, while the outside world stands by."

He added: "In order to help make that two-state settlement a reality we will recognise a Palestinian state as soon as we take office."

Brandon Lewis, the chairman of the Conservative Party, said Mr Corbyn's speech showed he was "unfit to govern".

“All he offers are failed ideas that didn’t work in the past and would leave working families paying the price with higher taxes, more debt and more waste – just like last time.

“He confirmed Labour are opening the door to re-running the referendum, which would take us all back to square one.

“And he didn’t even apologise to Jewish people for his total failure to tackle the anti-Jewish racism that is rife in the Labour Party."

The SNP's Westminster leader Ian Blackford claimed Labour "have nothing to offer Scotland but economic chaos and incompetence".

READ MORE: Jeremy Corbyn refuses to say Brexit will definitely happen

“Jeremy Corbyn may have been forced into saying he would not accept a no-deal Brexit – but he remains committed, like the Tories, to taking Scotland out of the EU against our will.

“While Labour have pinched policies wholesale from the SNP government, they have forgotten about how they would afford them – with a self-inflicted multi-billion pound Brexit black hole making a mockery of their spending plans.

“After a bitterly divided conference, dominated by rows over Brexit, racism, and sectarianism, Labour have shown they aren’t even fit for opposition let alone government."