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Jeremy Corbyn 'will not quit Labour leadership' if MPs revolt

Published 26/09/2015

Jeremy Corbyn is facing his first party conference as Labour leader
Jeremy Corbyn is facing his first party conference as Labour leader

Jeremy Corbyn has vowed to "carry on" even if his MPs try to oust him as Labour leader, insisting he has no intention of quitting.

The Leader of the Opposition was elected to head the Labour party with a huge mandate from party members and supporters despite negligible support from his MPs.

At the start of his first party conference as leader, Mr Corbyn said Labour MPs would not force him out.

Mr Corbyn told the Observer he would need to lose a full leadership contest before leaving his post.

He said: "There is a democratic process in the party and that can be operated at any time.

"But am I going to resign? No. Of course not.

"No. No. I will carry on."

The Parliamentary Labour Party can trigger a leadership contest if 20% of them - 46 of the 232 Labour MPs - unite behind an alternative candidate.

But in the interview, Mr Corbyn insisted he could see himself as Prime Minister in five years time, adding: "I think about the issues, the opportunities and the responsibilities that go with that, of course."

Amid continuing disputes over party policy and ahead of a crunch emergency conference debate on Trident, Labour is due to review how it makes policy.

Activists will be told of moves to involve the members and supporters who swept Mr Corbyn to the leadership.

A spokesman for Mr Corbyn said the leader wanted to hear the views of grassroots activists and the supporters who paid £3 to take part in the election.

"We see Jeremy's election as the party telling us they want more open and democratic politics," the spokesman said.

"We are launching a review of how we make policy and how we can make it more inclusive."

The review will be formally announced by shadow cabinet minister Angela Eagle at conference and will also look at the "use of technology" in the policy-making process.

Ahead of the main conference, Mr Corbyn told Labour's women's conference in Brighton he had a mandate to "toughen our opposition to austerity".

"Women are hit hardest by austerity," he said. "Whether it's cuts to tax credits, to child benefits, to refuges, to public services, to benefits for all or to adult social care, in all cases it is women who are hit the hardest.

"And so, within our economic development, we are not going to change our economy by hitting the poorest in our society, we are not going to cut our way to prosperity.

"Let's invest and grow our way to prosperity whilst eliminating or reducing the grotesque levels of inequality between the richest and the poorest in our society.

"So we will achieve things, not by loading students with more debt, demonising people on benefits or pandering to anti-migrant rhetoric but instead recognise the huge contribution made by people that have migrated and come to this country in the work they pay, the tax they pay and the contribution they make to our society."

Mr Corbyn's comments came after shadow chancellor John McDonnell set out Labour's plan to support George Osborne's fiscal charter designed to guarantee "budget responsibility" in a bid to restore the party's economic credibility.

The Labour leader said the party had to say "austerity isn't inevitable, poverty isn't necessary, bad housing isn't a necessary part of modern Britain".

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