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  1. Politics
3 August 2016

Diane Abbott MP: Labour will choose the election winner Jeremy Corbyn

Under Jeremy Corbyn, Labour became an effective opposition. 

By Diane Abbott

Only last September, Jeremy Corbyn won a landslide in Labour’s leadership election, gaining three times the votes of his nearest rival. 

The recent moves against Jeremy’s leadership have been a wholly unnecessary distraction to the momentum he has been building as leader towards a Labour victory at the next general election.

In the time Jeremy has been party leader, Labour has forced government U-turns and defeats on over 20 issues, including the proposed cuts to tax credits and personal independence payments. 

These were not an accident – they were due to us becoming an effective opposition which has clearly opposed austerity, and has broken from the failed “austerity-lite” line that led to our temporary leadership arguing we should abstain on the Welfare Bill last summer.

We have also performed well in by-elections and won all the recent mayoral contests. In May, our national share of the vote – the most important indicator – was up. At the 2015 general election, we were nearly seven points behind. In May, we were a point ahead.

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Additionally, the Labour party has continued to grow – it is now bigger than it has been in 40 years, with more than 600,000 members. This is genuinely a social phenomenon. Our party is beginning to transform into a mass movement that can mobilise in communities and win elections.

It is in stark contrast to the hollowing out of our party we had experienced after the Iraq war. 

But despite Jeremy’s democratic mandate from our party – and the good performances in terms of both electoral tests and forcing the Government on the backfoot on a number of issues – sadly some of his parliamentary colleagues have seemed more interested in ridding the party of him, rather than the country of the Tories. 

What time did they choose to try to force Jeremy out of the Party leadership? Just when the Tories anointed a new Prime Minister, who has appointed the most right-wing cabinet in generations. Just when the Tories have confirmed they are committed to implementing yet more austerity, despite the economic shockwaves caused by the EU referendum result.

It is a Jeremy Corbyn-led Labour party that will be best placed to take the Tories on regarding their ideologically-driven austerity agenda.

As the EU Referendum result reflected, people’s trust in traditional politicians and political parties has been extremely low in recent years, yet people both like and trust Jeremy. They know he is honest and straight talking.  

Jeremy’s way of doing politics, both in terms of the policies he has been staking out and people’s trust in him to deliver those policies, underpin why under his leadership Labour can provide a real alternative. 

Crucially, people know that Jeremy clearly understands that our relationship to the economy, the environment and our political system needs to be radically transformed.

Most importantly people trust him because they know he consistently – and clearly – stands up for the interests of the overwhelming majority of people who don’t benefit from the Tories’ ideologically-driven austerity measures.

People know Jeremy will fight for the growing number of people in poverty and insecure work in Britain, where today six million working people are paid less than the living wage and poverty among those in work is at a record high.

And they know he will not wage tragic and unnecessary wars or scapegoat the most vulnerable in our society for the problems many communities face after the harsh cuts of recent years.

A good economy that delivers works for everyone, in every part of the country, does not happen by accident. 

Under Jeremy’s leadership, we have put back on the political agenda that Britain needs a proper industrial strategy which invests in the industries and technologies of the future. 

This could address our infrastructure needs, for more housing, better rail links, and world class digital infrastructure, and provide quality public services for all, including the health and education services the people of Britain deserve. 

A Labour government led by Jeremy will build homes and legislate against exploitative labour practices to ensure secure jobs. We will close tax havens to bring illicit income onshore and make our domestic tax system fairer to better support the majority of people who have had their living standards squeezed in recent years.

Jeremy can win a general election both because these policies are what the economy and the majority of the country needs, and because people will trust him to deliver his promises in government.

I am confident that Labour members, affiliates and supporters will  again endorse Jeremy Corbyn this summer – then we can take the fight to the Tories, win the next general election with a promise for a pathway out of austerity and transform Britain into a fairer, more equal society.