Corbyn has a plan to win over Leave voters - but what about Remainers?
PUBLISHED: 16:02 18 October 2018 | UPDATED: 16:29 18 October 2018
Jeremy Corbyn pledged an end to austerity and insisted Labour has what it takes to win back Leave voters in the next election, during a visit to a solidly Brexit-voting area of the Midlands.
The Labour leader said his party offered “a real end to austerity” and slammed prime minister Theresa May for cutting council budgets and underfunding the NHS.
Speaking on a visit to three Leave East Midlands constituencies, Corbyn said: “We’re serious about building houses and providing real opportunities for the next generation.
“We’re going to win back (seats) because of the offer we are making - of a real end to austerity by investment in the future.”
Corbyn admitted Labour “do have to gain seats” after they lost some Leave areas to the Conservatives last year.
Heavily pro-Brexit constituencies Mansfield and North East Derbyshire were both lost to the Conservatives in June’s snap general election.
But Corbyn defended Labour’s results on his visit to North East Derbyshire, Bolsover and Ashfield, which voted 62.8%, 70.8% and 69.8% in favour of leaving the EU.
“We lost some seats but we also had a huge increase in the Labour vote nationally,” Corbyn said.
“The vote went up in most places, but concentrated votes between Labour and Conservative meant that there was a two-horse race whereas previously it has been a three or four-horse race.”
And Corbyn added that his party offered a real alternative to the Tories, saying: “The prime minister is offering yet more cuts in council expenditure, yet more under-funding in our National Health Service and our mental health services.”
He said: “Our votes were rising but we do have to gain seats.
“We’re doing that by the economic offer we’re making and by the inclusion of the way in which we are developing our policies.
“John McDonnell and his team are doing economic discussion meetings - so the skill levels that are there, that haven’t been used in many cases since the Thatcherite destruction of the mining industry, are the ones that we will put to good use in the future.”