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Corbyn: I have people's mandate to stay as leader


Jeremy Corbyn speaking at a Momentum event at the School of Oriental and African Studies

Jeremy Corbyn speaking at a Momentum event at the School of Oriental and African Studies

Jeremy Corbyn is refusing to quit as Labour Parry leader

Jeremy Corbyn is refusing to quit as Labour Parry leader

Jeremy Corbyn speaking at a Momentum event at the School of Oriental and African Studies

Embattled Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn showed no sign of quitting when he addressed a rally of supporters, insisting he was "proud" to continue his work.

Addressing a crowd at the London School of Oriental and African Studies, Mr Corbyn did not mention the threat to his leadership.

Despite overwhelmingly losing a confidence vote by 172 to 40 yesterday, Mr Corbyn insisted he still has a "people's mandate" to remain as leader.

Instead he downplayed the turmoil in the party, saying some people did not "completely agree" with him.

He said: "We're in the midst of a very interesting political time in this country, I was very honoured to be elected to lead the Labour Party last year.

"I have done my best over this year to develop the policy changes we want and to reach out to people and to recognise that there are many people in the party who don't completely agree with the direction I want to take it.

"But I also recognise that the mandate was given by hundreds of thousands of ordinary people joining in a political process, just as is happening across Europe, just as is happening across the United States, because they want to see a politics that is more reflective of them, their lives, their community and aspirations rather than the economic orthodoxy of the retreat of the wealth to the wealthiest that the poor may get poorer. It is simply immoral and wrong.

"Surely together we have strength. Surely together we can harness the technology we've got and not be afraid of press barons who attack us.

"That's why we contested the leadership of this party a year ago, that's why I'm very proud to be carrying on with that work."

When he was heckled by an onlooker about his EU campaign, he said: "Last week there was a vote to leave the European Union, it wasn't my wish, it wasn't the wish I suspect of a large number of people here, and we now have a difficult economic situation to deal with.

"We now have to demand that we gain protection for the workers' rights that we've got, gain protection for the social chapter we've got, the environmental and sustainability regulations that we've got and all of those issues.

"But what I am absolutely appalled by is the rise of racist attacks and racist violence over the past week in this country. This afternoon I went to the Polish Centre in Hammersmith to express my support and sympathy to them."

He said: "The vote last week was a vote of anger, it was a vote of desperation in many places around the country.

"Post-industrial Britain of the communities that were destroyed by the Tory government in the 1980s still have high levels of unemployment and have lost their economic viability because of the destruction of basic, heavy industry of that period.

"A free market economy is not going to solve the problems in those areas, an interventionist economy that invests in those areas, invests in the infrastructure and invests in the jobs necessary will help those communities."

The heckler responded by simply calling him a "moron".

Throughout the rally his supporters urged onlookers to join the Labour Party and vote for Corbyn when the almost inevitable leadership election is held.

Chairwoman of Young Labour Caroline Hill told the rally Mr Corbyn "isn't going anywhere".

"Young Labour is growing every day and today, more than any other day, it has grown and let me tell you why. People are joining.

"People are joining, and they are not joining for messing about, they are not joining for the PLP having daggers at each other, they are joining because of Jeremy Corbyn.

"Young people are interested in politics, they are interested in getting involved in campaigns, they are interested in changing their lives because they want homes, they want education, they want jobs. It's as simple as that.

"Everyone kept saying 'look, look at Jeremy Corbyn' and suddenly things have started to change and people all over Europe recognise that that is Jeremy Corbyn.

"Unfortunately it doesn't seem like our own party has taken that on board.

"He talks about the things that matter to us so I don't know why we have to come together today to tell the people in Parliament to actually listen to young people and listen to the leader we have chosen at a time when our country is a mess.

"We can continue to let the MPs play their games in Parliament, it doesn't seem to be going anywhere - Jeremy's definitely not - we know he has the support of thousands of party members, we know that the unions support Jeremy.

"Screw those people messing around, we're not going anywhere."

Labour activist Claire Hurley said: "We got involved in getting Jeremy elected - we worked democratically to make him the elected leader.

"The people, the mass, young people coming together and fighting for what we believe in - this coup by the PLP is nothing short of an assault on our democracy.

"In this time post-Brexit when we are all so worried about what the future is going to bring we need to stand with Jeremy Corbyn. He's going to stand up for young people, he's going to stand up against austerity.

"It's a fight between a handful of Labour MPs and the mass of Labour supporters - we are the soul of the Labour Party."

She said they would be "going out making sure Jeremy Corbyn wins the next general election".