Jeremy Corbyn says he ‘understands’ concerns behind Brexit vote in New Year message for 2017

‘2016 will defined in history by the referendum on European Union membership. People didn’t trust politicians and they didn’t trust the EU’

Brexit for bankers and corporate world 'not good enough' says Corbyn in New Year's message

Jeremy Corbyn has said he “understands” some of the concerns behind the vote for Brexit in his official message for 2017.

In a video the Labour leader said the past year “will be defined in history” by the decision to leave the European Union and said it was “not good enough” for the Government to bring forward a deal that just protects the bankers in the City.

Mr Corbyn added: “People didn’t trust politicians and they didn’t trust the EU.”

And it is clear that in the coming months the Labour leader’s team will attempt to capitalise on his “outsider” status with a populist pitch. The Labour leader added: “I understand that, I’ve spent over 40 years in politics campaigning for a better way of doing things. Standing up for people, taking on the establishment and opposing decisions that would make us worse off.

But in the year ahead Mr Corbyn will be well aware that the party needs to close the wide gap in the polls with Theresa May’s Conservatives. Since the summer Labour has been languishing in the polls, reaching near historic lows. Rarely have the Tories been fewer than 10 points ahead of their closest rivals in Westminster in this period.

Reflecting on 2016 in a video filmed against the skyline of the London Eye, the Labour leader also reiterated his party will not attempt to block the result of the referendum. He said: “Labour accepts and respects the result of the referendum. We won’t be blocking our leaving the European Union, but we won’t stand by.

“Those in charge today have put the jobs market, housing, the NHS and social care in crisis. We can’t let them mess this up. It’s about everyone’s future.

“A Brexit that protects the bankers in the City and continues to give corporate handouts to the biggest companies is not good enough.”

Mr Corbyn, who told The Independent last week his party would be “ready” for a general election if Theresa May called one, also used his 2017 message to attack the Government over its record on the NHS, social care and homelessness, which has risen sharply in recent years.

A Brexit that protects the bankers in the City and continues to give corporate handouts to the biggest companies is not good enough

Jeremy Corbyn

He said the political system is “letting down the people of this country” and that “decisions made in Westminster are making people’s lives harder”.

He added: “Whether that’s elderly people not receiving the care at home they deserve, putting huge strain on them and their family, or whether it’s the people waiting longer in A&E or on trolleys because our National Health Service and social care system is at breaking point, despite the best efforts of the wonderful and dedicated staff.

“Whether it’s the homeless families who are being priced out of a housing market that only works for the few. This Christmas, 120,000 children didn’t have a home to call their own. That’s scandalous.”

He said many Britons are struggling with the twin burdens of insecure housing and insecure work. “Millions of people can’t plan their lives because, whether on temporary or zero-hours contracts, they don’t know what job or what hours they’ll have from day to day, week to week or month to month“, he said.

“For many, pay is so low that it doesn’t make ends meet.”

Mr Corbyn added that Labour was “founded to stand up for people” and created institutions such as the NHS which improve the daily lives of millions of people.

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