Labour back as political voice of working class, Corbyn says
Labour is back as the political voice of the working class and is committed to doing more to give a voice to communities who feel they are not heard in politics, party leader Jeremy Corbyn has said.
He hit out at 30 years of the establishment claiming that class does not matter, which he said had led to living standards falling while a tiny minority at the very top of society have become more wealthy.
He told the policy conference of Unite in Brighton that working class issues such as jobs, homes, health and education were Labour's issues as well.
He said: "It's so important that Labour is back as the political voice of the working class in all its diversity across Britain.
"We will be be campaigning on the issues that matter, to communities that have been held back and ignored, across the country in the weeks and months to come.
"Labour exists to represent the large majority of the population, the many, not the few, lower and middle income voters, the skilled and unskilled, nurses and teachers, shop floor workers, builders, designers, technicians, professionals in every community, region and nation."
Mr Corbyn said Tories saw Brexit as an opportunity to run down workers' rights, and take away protections which working people and trade unions have won across Europe.
Brexit was being seen by some as an opportunity to tip the balance even more firmly in favour of big business, he said, adding: "Deregulating our food safety standards, tearing up environmental protections, opening up even more public services to privatisation and driving down workers' rights all while slashing corporation tax.
"Under this plan Britain won't be taking back control, big business would be taking still more control on the backs of the workforce, taking advantage of a new bonfire of workers' rights which many Tories are itching to set ablaze."
He said Labour would negotiate a new and comprehensive customs union with the EU after Brexit and a strong relationship with the Single Market to ensure frictionless trade and keep skilled jobs in this country.
"We would seek to build a sensible working relationship with our European partners in sharp contrast to the posturing of the Conservatives which is clearly now threatening skilled jobs in this country."
Mr Corbyn said pay was lower in real terms today for most people than it was 10 years ago.
He added: "While most people have seen their wages and living standards fall over the last eight years, a tiny minority at the very very top of society have become ever more wealthy.
"They're doing better at helping themselves to the wealth created by everybody else and being handed still more from the public purse as under this Government they've been rewarded with one tax giveaway after another."
Mr Corbyn said Labour will never accept any Brexit deal that doesn't guarantee rights and protections for workers and consumers.
"Our priority must be to get the best deal for people's jobs and living standards.
"We reject any race to the bottom in workers' rights, environmental safeguards, consumer protection or food safety standards.
"If these things aren't achieved, we will vote against any deal this Government cobbles together or hides behind a convenient form of words - once, of course, they've managed to do a deal with each other.
"No doubt they're all looking forward to their pyjama party at Chequers on Friday, but unlike the squabbling outsized egos in the Tory cabinet, Labour is clear - we would negotiate a new and comprehensive customs union with the EU after Brexit and a new strong relationship with the Single Market to ensure frictionless trade across our borders and keep skilled jobs in this country."