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Gibraltar sovereignty issue 'settled', Jeremy Corbyn says

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has said he believes the issue of Gibraltar's sovereignty is "settled" after suggestions Theresa May could resort to war to defend the territory.

After an EU document suggested that Spain would be given a veto on post-Brexit agreements governing the British overseas territory, Lord Michael Howard said he was certain that the Prime Minister would be ready to defend the Rock as Margaret Thatcher did the Falklands.

Mrs May suggested relations with Spain would remain "jaw-jaw", and Mr Corbyn added he felt dialogue was the best option.

Speaking at the launch of the May 4 local elections campaign in Newark, Nottinghamshire, Mr Corbyn said: "I don't want a war with anyone and I think it's better to talk to people than to fight.

"I think the issue is settled and the story seems to have arisen mainly because Michael Howard thought this was 1982 not 2017."

Mr Corbyn said in a speech to Labour supporters: "The truth is that the Tories are running our country down.

"Home ownership, opportunities for our children, wages and conditions at work, the NHS, care for our elderly, and now life expectancy: they're all going backwards, run down by a Conservative Government that looks after those at the top and manages decline for the rest of us."

Local government elections will be held across England, Scotland and Wales, alongside a number of mayoral elections in city regions such as Greater Manchester and the West Midlands.

When questioned by reporters about polls which show Labour trailing behind the Conservatives, he said: "The polls suggest that people are also worried about the NHS, very worried about the housing crisis facing this country and very unhappy how our schools funding is being dealt with by this Government, we will be emphasising this during this campaign."

The Labour leader added that the UK must "look to the future" as we "ask ourselves what sort of country we want Britain to be."

"Theresa May's Government is trying to use Brexit to turn Britain into a low-wage tax haven for big business," he told the audience.

"We are offering a real alternative that reflects the priorities of the majority of our people to rebuild and transform Britain, so that no one and no community is left behind.

"Instead of a country run for the rich, we can create a Britain where all of us can lead richer lives: investing in a better Britain, creating educational opportunity for all, guaranteeing the health and social care services you need, providing safer neighbourhoods and building homes people can afford."

Meanwhile, on the row over the removal of the word "Easter" from a Cadbury and National Trust egg hunt, Mr Corbyn said: "I think it's commercialisation gone a bit too far."

"It upsets me because I don't think Cadbury's should take over the name," he added after the Conservative leader called the decision "absolutely ridiculous".

:: Meanwhile, Mr Corbyn slipped up when introducing the leader of Nottinghamshire County Council at the campaign launch, referring to him as Alan Rouse rather than Alan Rhodes.

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