Jeremy Corbyn to pledge new rights for self-employed

Labour party annual conference 2015

Jeremy Corbyn will pledge new rights for the self-employed as he sets out his vision for a "kinder politics" and a "caring society".

In his first keynote conference speech since becoming leader of the Labour Party he will also insist that his political beliefs are driven by "shared majority British values" and a love of his country.

Mr Corbyn will say the self-employed deserve the same "safety net" offered by the welfare state as other working people.

He will use his conference address to say statutory maternity and paternity pay should be extended to small business owners.

Mr Corbyn will tell delegates: "Many people like the independence and flexibility that self-employment brings to their lives.

"But with that independence comes insecurity and risk - especially for those on the lowest and most volatile incomes."

He will say Labour should "consider opening up statutory maternity and paternity pay to the self-employed, so all new-born children can get the same level of care from their parents."

Labour has been attacked by the Tories as the "party of welfare" but Mr Corbyn will praise the social security system created by his predecessors.

"Labour created the welfare state as an expression of a caring society - but too often that safety net is not there for self-employed people. It must be."

Mr Corbyn's public declaration of love for his country comes after controversy over his failure to sing the national anthem at a Battle of Britain commemoration.

But aides dismissed suggestions that the new leader's comments were intended to counter accusations he lacked patriotism. They insisted he was simply "setting out his stall" to explain what kind of leader he will be.

Mr Corbyn will say: "As I travelled the country during the leadership campaign it was wonderful to see the diversity of all the people in the country.

"Even more inspiring was the unity and unanimity of their values - a belief in coming together to achieve more than we can on our own. Fair play for all, solidarity and not walking by on the other side of the street when people are in trouble. Respect for others' point of view.

"It is this sense of fair play, these shared majority British values, that are the fundamental reason why I love this country and its people.

"These values are what I was elected on: a kinder politics and a more caring society.

"They are Labour values and our country's values.

"We are going to put these values back into politics.

"It's because I am driven by these British majority values, because I love this country, that I want to rid it of injustice, to make it fairer, more decent, more equal.

"And I want all of our citizens to benefit from prosperity and success."

Just two weeks after being swept into office with almost 60% of the votes of Labour members and supporters, Mr Corbyn will say that the scale of his victory gives him a huge "mandate for change".

"It was a vote for change in the way we do politics, in the Labour Party and the country," he is expected to say.

"Kinder, more inclusive. Bottom up, not top down. In every community and workplace, not just at Westminster."

In a sharp break from several of his predecessors, Mr Corbyn will declare that he has no intention of imposing policies on the party from above, but will listen to the views of members during a lengthy policy review and seek a collective position.

Aides declined to say whether he would accept the party's collective judgment if it contradicted his own deeply-held beliefs on issues like scrapping the Trident nuclear deterrent.

Mr Corbyn suffered a setback earlier in the week when delegates at Brighton rejected plans for a debate on Trident.

But he won warm support from activists for shadow chancellor John McDonnell's rejection of austerity and promise to balance the nation's books without hurting middle and low-earners.

In a sign of the difficulties Mr Corbyn faces with Commons colleagues, the majority of whom did not back him for the leadership, shadow cabinet minister Lucy Powell gave only a lukewarm declaration of support.

Asked if she felt Mr Corbyn was a leader who can take Labour to victory at the next election, Ms Powell told BBC Radio 5 Live: "He's just been elected leader of the Labour Party, so I'm really not in the business of speculating how long he will last and how successful he will be. I wish he will be successful."

Aides hope Mr Corbyn's conference address will appeal to people who have lost interest in politics because of disillusionment with the way it is conducted at Westminster.

Echoing the conference slogan "Straight talking, honest politics", Mr Corbyn will say he offers: "Real debate, not message discipline. Straight talking. Honest."

In an apparent attempt to build bridges with centrist figures who have refused to serve on his front bench, the veteran left-winger will say: "I am not imposing leadership lines.

"I don't believe anyone has a monopoly on wisdom - we all have ideas and a vision of how things can be better."

He will call for "open debate" within the party, promising: "I will listen to everyone. I firmly believe leadership is listening."

Mr Corbyn will read his text from an autocue for the first time in his public life. But he is expected to eschew much of the razzmatazz employed by many modern politicians. There will be no discussion of his private life or his personal background, and while wife Laura Alvarez may be in the audience, she will not join him on stage. T

His speech has been drafted over the last few days, largely by Mr Corbyn himself, assisted by director of policy Neale Coleman.

Aides said they did not know what he would wear for the crucial address, when he could face the largest TV audience of his life so far. He was pictured putting finishing touches to the speech with red socks and sandals on.

A Look Inside the 2015 Labour Conference