Corbyn to tell Labour conference: “We are ready for government”

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn MP will be appearing in Norwich next weekend. Picture: Gareth Full

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn MP will be appearing in Norwich next weekend. Picture: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire - Credit: PA

Jeremy Corbyn will today declare his party is 'ready for government' as he closes the Labour Party conference.

In a wide-ranging speech he will also claim that a fourth industrial revolution, if managed correctly, could lead to people being paid more and working less.

And he will announce policies designed to devolve power away from Westminster and demand the government 'pull themselves together' over Brexit negotiations.

He will say: 'Against all predictions, in June we won the largest increase in the Labour vote since 1945 and achieved Labour's best vote for a generation. It's a result which has put the Tories on notice and Labour on the threshold of power.

'Yes, we didn't do quite well enough and we remain in opposition for now. But we have become a government-in-waiting. And our message to the country could not be clearer: Labour is ready.

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'Ready to tackle inequality. Ready to rebuild our NHS. Ready to give opportunity to young people, dignity and security to older people. Ready to invest in our economy and meet the challenges of climate change and automation. Ready to put peace and justice at the heart of foreign policy. And ready to build a new and progressive relationship with Europe.

'We are ready for government.'

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Mr Corbyn's speech strikes a triumphant tone and will no doubt bring the house down in Brighton.

But Labour's hopes that this would be a unified conference have been dashed.

The party is still too divided over leadership and Brexit for that to be achieved.

Even before it began there were rows about whether the mayor of London would be allowed to speak and whether there should be a vote on issues surrounding quitting the European Union.

But the divisions have not hindered the star of this show – Mr Corbyn.

Although some Labour voters still have doubts about the party leader, the faithful gathered on the South Coast are unwavering in their adoration. This is his party now, rebuilt after Ed Miliband on a cult of personality.

In the conference hall his fans wave scarves with his name on, in the bars and pubs young and old alike proudly wear 'I'm with Corbyn' t-shirts, and even the slightest criticism is shutdown with gusto.

Mr Corbyn is so powerful within Labour that a potential vote on Brexit was shelved for fear it could embarrass him.

And slowly – but surely – Mr Corbyn and his team are becoming more confident in their policy proposals.

Bringing all private finance initiatives back 'in house', curbing the amount of interest credit card firms can charge and repeating the pledge to scrap tuition fees.

These are clever, cut-through policies whether you agree with them or not. They grab attention and garner headlines. They achieve exactly what the Conservative general election manifesto failed to do: they address issues people are worried about.

Another eye-catching idea is the National Education Service. Mr Corbyn wants to build an education system modelled on the NHS. The fact that people have a deep respect and love for the NHS means the proposals have instant support.

He is expected to say: 'As we move into a new era of huge industrial, technological and workplace change, we are committed to establishing a National Education Service.

'And that will include, at its heart, free tuition for all college courses, technical and vocational training, so that no one is held back by costs and everyone has the chance to learn. That will give millions a fair chance.'

And yet in the background the grumbling continues. It is the type of chatter that would worry most leaders. But Mr Corbyn couldn't care less.

He has enough of the members to make the MPs close to irrelevant. The parliamentary party has been sidelined and yet after the stunning general election result those MPs have little choice but to back their leader.

Never before in British politics has a party seen power shift from one wing to the other in such a violent and devastating way.

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