Corbyn throws down gauntlet to May saying Labour is ready for new election - and predicting it will be soon

'We have a programme, we have support and we are ready to fight another election campaign'

Rob Merrick
Deputy Political Editor
Sunday 11 June 2017 10:17
Jeremy Corbyn says there may be another election later this year

Jeremy Corbyn has predicted Theresa May will be forced into another general election within months, insisting: “We are ready any time.”

A buoyant Labour leader – appearing in a TV interview, while the Prime Minister was absent – predicted her attempt to cobble together a deal with the DUP would fall apart.

“I think it’s quite possible there will be an election later this year – or early next year,” Mr Corbyn told the BBC’s Andrew Marr programme.

“We cannot go on with a period of great instability. We have a programme, we have support and we are ready to fight another election campaign as soon as maybe.

“We want to be able to serve the people of this country on the agenda we put forward, which is transformative and has gained amazing levels of support.”

Questioned if he is in it for the long-term, the Labour leader joked: “Look at me, I've got youth on my side.”

Mr Corbyn also claimed Ms May’s plans to complete Brexit through a “Great Repeal Bill” were “history” and would have to be dropped – although he insisted the UK would leave the EU.

And he hinted at a shadow Cabinet comeback for big names such as Yvette Cooper and Chuka Umunna, saying: “Of course I’m going to reach out.”

Overnight, the polling company which accurately predicted Friday’s dramatic election results released another poll – putting Labour five points ahead, on 45 per cent.

Mr Corbyn said Labour would put down “substantial amendment to the Queen's Speech” to force its ideas onto the vastly-altered political agenda of a hung parliament.

“We'll invite the House to consider all the issues we put forward which I've mentioned - jobs-first Brexit, mention the issues of young people and austerity, there's many other things,” he said.

But, asked if Labour would seek to keep Britain in the EU single market and customs union, Mr Corbyn was vague, saying only “there will have to be an arrangement made.”

Pressed if he was being clear that the UK will leave the EU, he said: “Absolutely. Where I frame it is, we want a tariff-free access to the European market.”

On the so-called Great Repeal Bill, designed to transfer EU law into British law before withdrawal in March 2019, Mr Corbyn said: “I suspect we'll have something different coming in a couple of weeks time.”

Earlier, he had told the Sunday Mirror that he expects to be able to attract some of the party's biggest names to serve on his front bench.

“My phone is full of texts from lots and lots of people from right across the party. And I'm open to everyone. It's important to make that clear,” he told the newspaper.

However, there were signs of tension with key ally John McDonnell, the Shadow Chancellor, who said: “Our shadow Cabinet at the moment was a winning team.

“It just won effectively votes that no one predicted that we would so I don’t want to break up that winning team.”

On the issue of the seven Sinn Fein MPs, potentially crucial to the new Commons arithmetic, Mr Corbyn said: “I don't see any possibility of Sinn Fein taking their seats.”

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