By-election campaign all about core Labour values, Corbyn tells rally

Jeremy Corbyn said his party’s Peterborough by-election campaign is focused on “core Labour values”, with environmental protection and ending austerity key issues.

The constituency has historically been a close-run battle between Labour and the Conservatives, but Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party is attempting to gain a foothold in Westminster and is the bookmakers’ favourite.

Mr Corbyn, addressing activists in Peterborough on Saturday, said: “This election campaign is about asserting those core Labour values.

“A Labour government will end austerity, a Labour government will invest in the future and a Labour government will deal with the crucial issue that we all face, that of climate change and the environment.”

He said the local council could start by addressing fly tipping.

Labour’s by-election candidate is Unite activist Lisa Forbes.

Mr Corbyn continued: “When we fight this election, yes of course we fight it on the local issues, but we also fight it on what we the Labour Party want to, and are determined to, achieve for all of the young people in this country.

“A national education service, education as a right not as a commodity from cradle to grave, impose an increase in corporate taxation in order to end student debt because of excessive levels of student fees.

“In this campaign we support Lisa who will be a wonderful MP. We take that core Labour message out to all the doors of bringing our society and our community together, to protect jobs… to ensure we maintain that trading relationship with our nearest neighbours in Europe and to ensure that we get a Labour government at the end of this.”

He said that winning the by-election would be a “good step towards getting a general election and a Labour government”.

The Peterborough by-election was called after MP Fiona Onasanya was forced out by a recall petition after she was jailed for lying about a speeding offence.

Onasanya was elected as a Labour MP but was later suspended from the party after being sentenced.

As he left the rally, Mr Corbyn refused to answer questions about senior Labour official Pete Willsman, who was suspended on Friday over alleged anti-Semitic comments caught on tape.

Mr Corbyn told journalists: “It’s good of you to come here and report on the by-election.”

A party supporter said as she walked past: “The anti-Semitism stuff – it’s all made up.”

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