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Corbyn tells Labour activists party is ‘election ready’ amid anger at failure to debate Brexit

The Labour leader only made a passing reference to Brexit, after the conference voted not to debate the issue, prompting outrage among pro-EU MPs

Ashley Cowburn
Brighton
Sunday 24 September 2017 22:31 BST
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(Getty)

Jeremy Corbyn won a rapturous reception as he was introduced on a stage at Momentum’s festival in Brighton as the “next Prime Minister” and to the now-familiar chants of “Oh Jeremy Corbyn”.

In a fiery speech to activists, Mr Corbyn told a 500-strong crowd at The World Transformed – the parallel festival to Labour’s official conference in Brighton – that this year’s conference “is on a scale of something different”.

Mr Corbyn also insisted his party is now election-ready and has already begun work on its next manifesto.

“Our party now has to develop more detailed policies,” he said. “All that detailed work will be done and we’ll get ready for an election whenever it comes.”

Officials at Momentum told The Independent that a further 500 people had been refused entry due to capacity issues at the Synergy Centre in Brighton and many had queued for hours to hear the Labour leader’s speech.

In a wide-ranging speech, Mr Corbyn addressed the threat of nuclear war, homelessness in Britain, the banking crisis, inequality in the UK, and thanked activists for their efforts in June’s snap election.

But he made only a passing reference to Brexit in his 30-minute address, after the party conference voted not to debate the issue, deciding eight others were more important.

In his speech he stressed the need for “tariff-free trade” with the European market and the maintenance of environmental, consumer and workers’ rights.

Anger boiled over among pro-EU MPs, with one branding the decision “f***ing ridiculous” while a member of Mr Corbyn’s frontbench team said the decision was “strange”.

Another Labour MP said the decision made the party a “laughing stock”.

Momentum had used its new conference mobile app to suggest supporters should back other topics for a vote rather than a Brexit motion.

Press Association contributed to this report

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