Jeremy Corbyn has promised a “radical programme of action” on housing after claiming Grenfell Tower has been left as a “tragic monument” to a “failed and broken system”.
The Labour leader, delivering his keynote speech to the party’s conference in Brighton, described his shadow cabinet as a “government-in-waiting” and “on the threshold of power” following their surprise performance in June’s snap General Election.
He hailed 2017 as the year “politics finally caught up” with the 2008 financial crash, declaring: “We have left the status quo behind.”
Arriving on stage for his speech, Mr Corbyn was met by a long standing ovation as party members chanted his name to the tune of Seven Nation Army by The White Stripes – a common refrain in Brighton this week.
The Labour leader hailed the “incredible feeling of unity, love and affection” on the south coast, adding: “It’s quite infectious and let’s hope the whole country is infected with the same thing.”
Describing Labour as a “united party advancing in every part of the Britain” following the General Election, Mr Corbyn claimed they are now “winning the confidence of millions of fellow citizens”.
He added Labour were now “setting the agenda” as he attacked Theresa May’s post-election deal with the Democratic Unionist Party to support the Conservative’s minority government.
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Video: Jeremy Corbyn says party is ‘ready’ for power
Mr Corbyn outlined rent controls for city authorities, a “use it or lose it” policy for developers holding on to land and a review of social housing policy as Labour’s response to the Grenfell Tower disaster.
He said: “Grenfell is not just the result of bad political decisions. It stands for a failed and broken system which Labour must and will replace.”
Labour will “listen to tenants across the country” and detail a policy agenda within 12 months, Mr Corbyn added.
He also claimed the Grenfell fire demanded a rethink of regeneration schemes to avoid “social cleansing” and to boost tenants’ and leaseholders’ rights.
Mr Corbyn used his 75-minute speech to keep up Labour’s pressure on the Government over public sector pay rises, as he condemned the Conservatives as a “weak and divided Government with no purpose beyond clinging to power”.
Highlighting Tory divisions over Brexit, he told Cabinet ministers: “For Britain’s sake, pull yourself together or make way.”
Video: Analysis: Sky’s Faisal Islam looks at the key messages in Corbyn speech
Mr Corbyn said his party “guarantees unimpeded access” to the EU’s single market during a Brexit transition period, as he accused Mrs May of “cherry-picking Labour policies” including over her Brexit negotiations.
He launched an assault on a “nasty and personal” election campaign run by the Tories “and their loyal media”.
Mr Corbyn claimed the hostility had “fuelled abuse online” – with shadow home secretary Diane Abbott a particular target.
Amid a fresh anti-Semitism row engulfing his party in Brighton this week, Mr Corbyn claimed Labour was “diverse, welcoming, democratic and ready to serve our country”.
A lengthy passage on foreign policy saw Mr Corbyn promise a Labour government would “swap the knee-jerk response of another bombing campaign for long-term help to solve conflicts rather than fuel them”.
He hailed Myanmar’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi as “a champion of democracy and human rights” but called on the Nobel Peace Prize winner to “end the violence” against Rohingya Muslims.
Video: What did Labour MPs and ministers make of Corbyn’s address?
Mr Corbyn attacked US President Trump for his “disturbing” address to the UN General Assembly last week.
He told conference: “It threatened war and talked of tearing up international agreements.
“Devoid of concern for human rights or universal values, it really was not the speech of a world leader.”
The Labour leader said: “We must be a candid friend to the United States, now more than ever. The values we share are not served by building walls, banning immigrants on the basis of religion, polluting the planet, or pandering to racism.”
Highlighting the threat to 4,000 jobs in Northern Ireland due to a US trade dispute with Bombardier, Mr Corbyn said: “If the special relationship means anything, it must mean that we can say to Washington that way is the wrong way.”
Mr Corbyn hailed Labour’s conference announcement of a National Education Service for “cradle-to-grave” training, while he committed a Labour government to bring England’s “opt-in” organ transplant laws into line with other parts of the UK, where an “opt-out” policy is in place.
It was earlier revealed the Labour leader’s senior aide Karie Murphy saved the life of a desperately ill child by donating her kidney.
Pro-EU Labour MPs seized on Mr Corbyn’s comments on Brexit to demand their party leader commit to full membership of the EU’s single market and customs union for the long-term and not just during a transition period.
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First Secretary of State Damian Green, who is effectively Mrs May’s deputy prime minister, suggested Labour’s conference revealed they are “not fit to govern”.
He said: “Jeremy Corbyn’s speech summed up the problem with Labour: lots of big promises, but no explanation of how they would deliver them.
“He failed to mention their broken promise on student debt, as he knows it’s unworkable.
“He won’t call out or even mention claims of anti-Semitism within his party – highlighting just how divided Labour are.
“And he’s already admitted that Labour are planning for a financial crisis if they take office – they know the costs of their policies would rack up and up, just like last time.
“Labour say they are ready for power but everything we’ve seen this week suggests they’re not fit to govern – and it’s ordinary working people who would end up footing the bill.”
Source: Sky News