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Jeremy Corbyn: Labour absolutely ready to fight a general election

The party leader was campaigning in the North West ahead of local elections on May 2.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn (Danny Lawson/PA)
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn (Danny Lawson/PA)

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has said the party is “absolutely ready” for a general election as he joined campaigners in the North West.

The leader of the opposition visited Leyland in South Ribble, Lancashire, and Winsford in Cheshire on Tuesday ahead of local elections on May 2.

Speaking to members in the Red Lion pub in Winsford, Mr Corbyn said: “There will have to be a general election sometime soon.

“I’ll tell you what, we are absolutely ready for it.

“We’ve selected our candidates in all of the constituencies we see as a priority to try and gain and we’re working very hard in campaigning.”

He said an election would be won by “communities coming together”.

The Prime Minister’s spokesman has denied she is considering a snap election as she spends the week on a walking holiday in North Wales.

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Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn with Labour candidate Mandy Clare meeting locals during canvassing in Winsford (Danny Lawson/PA)

After posing for selfies with supporters as he left the pub, Mr Corbyn joined campaigners to knock on doors in the rain in the hope of encouraging voters to keep Labour in power on Cheshire West and Chester Council.

Linda Baker, 65, said: “It was the first time anybody’s knocked on my door before the elections in the 43 years I’ve lived here.”

The Labour voter said she spoke to Mr Corbyn about Liverpool, where she is from, and he asked about her background.

Further down Nixon Drive, Julie Newton, 41, and daughter Emily, 15, spoke to Mr Corbyn about problems with bullying at school.

Ms Newton said: “He was dead polite. He just told her to take it easy.”

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Rosa Gatta and daughter Millie Sordillo have a picture taken with the Labour leader (Danny Lawson/PA)

In the morning, Mr Corbyn attended a meeting at St Ambrose Church Hall in Leyland where he heard from residents with concerns about the crime rate.

About 25 people attended and raised issues about drug dealing and a lack of police presence in the area.

Resident Marguerite Ralphs said: “I am very, very concerned about drug dealing that’s openly going on in many districts of Leyland.

“It’s never challenged, they know there’s nobody to chastise them or bring them to book.”

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Mr Corbyn met voters on their doorsteps (Danny Lawson/PA)

Mr Corbyn said Labour was committed to recruiting more police officers and more police community support officers.

He said: “We need to invest in police, invest in youth services and invest in mental health services.”

Mr Corbyn said in South Ribble the party was “campaigning to win”, despite the fact the Conservative-run borough council has not been held by Labour for 20 years.

He said: “This is about supporting a local election campaign and pointing out that the problems of funding of police and mental health, of local authorities, of youth services, all come from a central Government decision to slash local government expenditure.”

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