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Jeremy Corbyn pledges to reach out to alienated female MPs amid equality push

Published 31/08/2016

Jeremy Corbyn has the support of almost two thirds of those entitled to vote, a poll found
Jeremy Corbyn has the support of almost two thirds of those entitled to vote, a poll found

Jeremy Corbyn has vowed to "reach out" to any alienated female Labour MPs and show them he is "serious" about defeating the Tories at a general election if he wins the leadership contest.

Mr Corbyn made the pledge to try to win over his opponents within the Parliamentary Labour Party as he launched a variety of policies aimed at achieving equality for women.

The Labour leader also took aim at companies that encourage "early evening socialisation", telling his supporters at a policy launch in London that such socialising effectively discriminates against mothers.

Mr Corbyn is locked in a fierce battle for the party leadership with Owen Smith and Wednesday marked his latest attempt to win the support of members.

He set out plans to commit Labour to undertake a regular gender audit of party policies and to consult on the setting up of a Women's Advisory Board, which will help ensure decisions made by the party's leadership better reflect and meet the needs of women from across society.

He also promised to look at strengthening the law to crack down on sexual harassment and threats made online and to increase women's representation in society and democracy by supporting all-women short-lists to achieve equal representation in Parliament and a similar aim for all public offices.

When asked during a question and answer session after his speech at Unison headquarters how he intended to win over any alienated female Labour MPs, he said: "I want to reach out to all members of the Labour Party and all members of the parliamentary party.

"I will send them all copies of the policies that we have put forward including this document we are putting forward this evening and try and show to them that we are serious about developing policies, we are serious about the inclusion of everyone within the Labour Party and the Labour movement in this whole project because that is the only way in which we can successfully take on the Tories in a general election."

Mr Corbyn's policy launch came after a YouGov poll gave him a 24-point lead over Mr Smith in the leadership race.

Asked about the poll, Mr Corbyn said with a slight grin: "I never comment on opinion polls but they are interesting."

The Labour leader also said the party would seek to ensure increased recruitment of women into science, technology, engineering and manufacturing jobs as the party seeks to tackle "occupational segregation".

Measures to increase the responsibility placed on organisations to promote safe and respectful "community standards" online in a bid to reduce abuse were also set out.

Mr Corbyn hit out at firms which encourage "early evening socialisation".

He said that it "benefits men who don't feel the need to be at home looking after their children and it discriminates against women who will want to, obviously, look after the children that they have got".

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