‘I’m like glue – I have great stick­a­bil­ity’

Up­beat Cor­byn talks up Labour’s fu­ture

The Sunday Post (Newcastle) - - POLITICS - By An­drew Picken apicken@sun­day­post.com

JEREMY COR­BYN has said he “sticks around like Bostik” af­ter tough­ing out plots to get rid of him and lead­ing Labour to a bet­ter- than- ex­pected Gen­eral Elec­tion re­sult.

The Labour leader claimed that, like the glue, he had “great stick­a­bil­ity” and talked up his party’s chances of tak­ing power af­ter a five-day visit to Scot­land.

Mr Cor­byn has been Labour leader since 2015 but has faced votes of no con­fi­dence from his own MPs and a lead­er­ship chal­lenge.

The Is­ling­ton North MP, who Scot­tish Labour leader Kezia Dug­dale pre­vi­ously said was un­able to unite the party and lead it into Govern­ment, saw off the re­volt and led the party to dozens more seats than ex­pected in June’s snap poll.

Asked if he felt vin­di­cated for tough­ing out the in­tense pres­sure on him to quit last year, he said: “Ab­so­lutely”.

Mr Cor­byn added: “I have got great stick­a­bil­ity.

“It is the Bostik ques­tion. I stick around like Bostik.

“It’s been fun. I am a re­lent­lessly op­ti­mistic per­son. I was given a 200-1 chance of win­ning. I am not a bet­ting man but many in my fam­ily wish I was.

“We went into the Gen­eral Elec­tion be­ing dis­missed by what you might call the com­men­tariat but we mounted a cam­paign which was trans­for­ma­tional.

“I am not con­tent ( with the re­sult) but I recog­nise the party put a huge ef­fort into this.” Mr Cor­byn bat­ted away crit­i­cism of Labour’s po­si­tion on Europe as “mud­dled”, say­ing his party re­spected the ref­er­en­dum re­sult and was com­mit­ted to get­ting the best Brexit deal pos­si­ble for the UK.

He said: “The ref­er­en­dum hap­pened, we have got to work with the re­sult but that does not mean we give up on im­por­tant trad­ing re­la­tions.

“Tar­iff free trade ac­cess is vi­tal. We will en­sure work­ers’ rights, con­sumer rights and en­vi­ron­men­tal rights will be moved into Bri­tish law.

“We will chal­lenge the Govern­ment on the trade deal if it is less than tar­iff­free ac­cess be­cause of the ef­fect on jobs in Bri­tain. That is key.

“The sup­ply chains of modern in­dus­try are very long and com­pli­cated. For ex­am­ple, Ford en­gines from Brid­gend ( in Wales). Many peo­ple don’t re­alise that bits and pieces of cars of­ten travel across the chan­nel many times. It is a very tightly-run sys­tem so if you have to pay a tar­iff ev­ery time you move a crankshaft from Ger­many to Bri­tain back and forth ... Well, it is not go­ing to hap­pen.”

The SNP ad­min­is­tra­tion at Holy­rood has threat­ened to with­hold con­sent for the UK Govern­ment’s Brexit plan un­less there are sig­nif­i­cant com­pro­mises and Labour has “six tests” it will as­sess each part of the trade deal with.

Asked if he would sup­port the SNP if there were no con­ces­sions made and the UK Govern­ment’s plan failed his six tests, the Labour leader said: “That is some way down the line.”

Mean­while, Mr Cor­byn yes­ter­day re­stated his party’s com­mit­ment to older peo­ple and the young as he at­tended a pen­sion­ers’ tea party at St Bryce Kirk in Kirk­caldy, Fife.

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