29 Sep, 2015
Britain’s Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn © Luke MacGregor / Reuters
Jeremy Corbyn will use his first conference speech as leader of the Labour Party to insist he is politically motivated by “shared majority British values” and is expected to call for “kinder politics” driven by inclusivity. The Labour leader will address the conference in Brighton on Tuesday. The renewed focus on patriotism is seen as an attempt to address the criticism Corbyn faced after he refused to sing the national anthem at a Battle of Britain memorial event.
However, aides have said he is not trying to counter criticism, but rather “setting out his stall” to explain his style of leadership.
His speech will call for “kinder politics,” a “caring society” and focus on bringing “values” to the political debate, aides said.
Corbyn will say his election as leader was “a vote 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.”
Corbyn will also use the speech to promise that decisions will be made by nationwide consultation, which some critics have said will increase internal party divides. Part of his leadership campaign pledge involved linking general party membership more closely to internal decisions.
The speech will not, however, contain an apology for the 2003 invasion of Iraq, which Corbyn initially promised during the leadership contest.
“As I travelled the country during the leadership campaign it was wonderful to see the diversity of all the people in the country,” he will say.
“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,” he will add.
But not all MPs at the party conference have welcomed the new leader. On Monday, Barrow-in-Furness MP John Woodcock said the party is “f*cked” if Corbyn remains in charge.
“We must respect the view which was put to me in really pithy terms by a candidate who hadn’t been able to win their seat. They had been discussing the ramifications of the leadership result with their children. A seven-year-old marched in and said ‘la la la, we’re f***ed.’
“They told her that it wasn’t appropriate language and she said ‘it’s OK mummy, it’s in context’. In this new tolerant environment where we all go forward it is probably better if I leave it there,” he said.