General election: Corbyn pledges to eradicate food bank use and rough sleeping within five years

Labour leader’s remarks come as Boris Johnson formally launches general election after meeting with Queen

Ashley Cowburn
Political Correspondent
Wednesday 06 November 2019 00:24 GMT
Related: John McDonnell promises to reduce working week to 32-hours within a decade under Labour government
Related: John McDonnell promises to reduce working week to 32-hours within a decade under Labour government (EPA)

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Jeremy Corbyn is to outline his priorities for the first term of a Labour government, including vows to eradicate food bank use, rough sleeping and in-working poverty in Britain.

His vision for the next five years will coincide with a speech from Boris Johnson at Number 10 – launching the official campaigning period for the country’s first December election in almost a century.

It comes after the current parliament was dissolved on Tuesday evening, meaning there are now vacancies for MPs in all 650 constituencies in the UK. Whitehall will also enter the pre-election period known as “purdah”.

After a short audience with the Queen, the prime minister will reiterate that he did “not want an election”, adding: “There is only one way to get Brexit done, and I am afraid the answer is to ask the people to change this blockading parliament.

“It’s time to change the dismal pattern of the last three years and get out of our rut. It’s time to end this debilitating delay. Let’s go with this conservative government, get Brexit done, and unleash the potential of our great country.”

But at a speech in Telford, the Labour leader will insist he will deliver “real change”, insisting he will be a different kind of prime minister if elected to Downing Street next month.

He will add: “For me, real politics, the politics I stand for, is about sharing power and wealth with people who don’t have a lot of money and don’t have friends in high places – to take control of their own lives.

“If you the British people, elect a Labour government on 12 December, I will be proud to be your prime minister. Because I will be a very different kind of prime minister. Not the kind of prime minister who believes he was born to rule.”

The Labour leader will also tell supporters that his administration should be “judged whether it changes people’s lives for the better after five years.”

“Judge us on whether in-work poverty still exists in five years’ time,” he will say. “Judge us on whether people are still sleeping rough after five years of a Labour government.”

On Wednesday, the Green Party will also launch their campaign for what they will label the “climate election” on 12 December, with a pledge to invest £100bn in action to tackle the climate crisis over the coming decade.

The party’s co-leader Sian Berry will add: “Let’s be honest about the situation we’re in. We know these are dark times. It’s easy to fear the future. The threat of Brexit hangs over our head, the climate emergency rages from the Amazon to the Arctic, and our fragile democracy is under attack.

“But despite all this, Greens don’t fear the future. We welcome the future. Because we know that we stand at the threshold of what could be the most exciting and prosperous period of British history.”

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