Jeremy Corbyn tells Theresa May: Make 'sensible' Brexit deal or 'make way for a party that can'

Jeremy Corbyn told Theresa May to get a "sensible" Brexit deal "or make way for a party that can", in his keynote speech to the Labour Party Conference.

Closing the gathering in Liverpool, Mr Corbyn said such a deal must guarantee workers rights, offer environmental protections, ensure product standards and created a new customs union to deal with the Irish border issue.

While Labour has set out six tests which it says the Government's Brexit deal must meet or it will not back the plan in Parliament, in what could be seen as an olive branch to Theresa May, Mr Corbyn "reached out" and highlighted what he viewed as the key points of the six.

The 69-year-old warned that if Mrs May's deal did not meet the tests, then Labour would push for a General Election - a point which was reiterated during the gathering.

"If you deliver a deal that includes a customs union and no hard border in Ireland, if you protect jobs, people’s rights at work and environmental and consumer standards - then we will support that sensible deal," Mr Corbyn told the Prime Minister, stressing that it must also be "a deal that would be backed by most of the business world and trade unions too".

He added: "But if you can’t negotiate that deal then you need to make way for a party that can...

"Failing that, all options are on the table," he said in referenceto a vote the party held on Tuesday to keep open the option of a second referendum, which shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer said could include the possibility of a Remain option.

Mr Corbyn also attacked the Conservative Government for "botched negotiations" over Brexit so far, warning that a lack of clarity was leading to jobs and investment being taken abroad, with "more to follow".

He added that "the main negotiations have taken place between different factions of the Tory party and the only job this government is fighting for is the Prime Minister’s".

  • Jeremy Corbyn promises to fight anti-Semitism 'with every breath I possess'

Aside from Brexit, which Mr Corbyn closed his speech with, one of the other main topics he addressed, and one of the first in his speech, was the issue of anti-Semitism which he said had resulted in a "tough" summer for Labour following a series of incidents.

"Ours is the party of equality for all," Mr Corbyn told the conference, adding: "Being anti-racist means we must listen to those communities suffering discrimination and abuse...

"The row over anti-Semitism has caused immense hurt and anxiety in the Jewish community and great dismay in the Labour Party, but I hope we can work together to draw a line under it."

Should Labour come to power at the next General Election, Mr Corbyn said his government would "guarantee whatever support necessary to ensure the security of Jewish community centres and places of worship, as we will for any other community experiencing hateful behaviour and physical attacks.

"We will work with Jewish communities to eradicate anti-Semitism, both from our party and wider society.

"And with your help I will fight for that with every breath I possess."

Mr Corbyn's promise to fight anti-Semitism was met with a standing ovation from many in the crowd.

Mr Corbyn also attacked "Tory hypocrites" for accusing Labour of anti-Semitism "while they work to create a hostile environment for all migrant communities".

He added that "race hate" and the far-right is on the rise across the world, with victims which "include the Windrush generation who helped rebuild Britain after the war and were thrown under the bus by a Government that reckoned there were votes to be had by pandering to prejudice".

"It is only through the unity of all our people that we can deliver social justice for anyone," he said.

Palestinians protest on the Gaza border with Israel. Credit: AP
  • One of Labour's first steps would be to 'recognise a Palestinian state'

Some have accused Mr Corbyn of anti-Semitism due to his attacks on the state of Israel and support for Palestine and peace in the Middle East.

As well as promising to fight against anti-Semitism "with every breath I possess", Mr Corbyn said one of his first steps on taking office would be "recognising a Palestinian state", an announcement which was met with one of the biggest cheers of the afternoon.

He told the conference: "The continuing occupation, the expansion of illegal settlements and the imprisonment of Palestinian children are an outrage.

"We support a two-state solution to the conflict with a secure Israel and a viable and secure Palestinian state."

Jeremy Corbyn wants to increase offshore windpower seven-fold and solar power threefold. Credit: PA
  • Labour would create a 'green jobs revolution'

The biggest policy announcement of Mr Corbyn's speech was his promise that a Labour government would radically reshape the UK economy, through the creation of 400,000 skilled posts in a "green jobs revolution."

Mr Corbyn said the UK needs a government “committed to investing in renewables, in jobs and in training” and promised large-scale public and private investment in wind and solar power, as well as subsidies to make all homes energy efficient.

Changes to planning guidance will aim to encourage private investment to double onshore wind power over 12 years, while offshore wind will be increased seven-fold and solar power threefold.

The plans would see £12.8 billion invested in an insulation programme over five years, with means-tested subsidies for low-income owner-occupiers and social housing and zero interest loans for home-owners and landlords who are able to pay.

Universal energy efficiency measures – including retrofitting of old properties – would reduce heat demand from buildings by a quarter.

The party aims to increase the share of electricity coming from low carbon or renewable sources from 50% to 85% and the share of heat from almost nothing to 44% by 2030, as part of a drive to cut 60% of greenhouse gas emissions by that date and reach zero emissions by 2050.

Mr Corbyn said: “Our energy plans would make Britain the only developed country outside Scandinavia to be on track to meet our climate change obligations.

“That means working with unions representing the workforce to ensure jobs and skills are protected as we move towards a low-carbon economy...

“It needs a government committed to investing in renewables, in jobs and in training."

Mr Corbyn said the NHS is in 'crisis'. Credit: PA
  • 'The NHS is in crisis'

Marking the 70th anniversary year of the creation of the NHS, Mr Corbyn lamented that the health service is in "crisis", forcing "more people waiting longer in A&E and to see a GP and over four million people on hospital waiting lists".

He added that cuts to funding were putting more pressure on the NHS.

"The scandal of the Tories’ £6 billion cuts to social care, has left 400,000 fewer older people receiving care.

"Too many of our older people condemned to live alone and isolated, often ending up at A&E through neglect, then unable to leave hospital because it’s not safe for them."

"And there is a mental health crisis too, causing real pain and anguish."

Mr Corbyn promised a Labour government would "deliver parity of esteem" for mental health, and promised to put a levy on those with second homes to generate more money for welfare.

Mr Corbyn promised an extra 10,000 police officers. Credit: PA
  • Labour promises 10,000 new police officers

Another public service which Mr Corbyn said was struggling was policing, stating that "violent crime is rising while police numbers have fallen to their lowest level for 30 years".

He quoted the Chief Constable of Bedfordshire Police who said that the force does "not have the resources to keep residents safe and no-one seems to be listening".

"Labour is listening" Mr Corbyn said, promising his government would "put another 10,000 police officers back on our streets".

He added more would be invested in younger people and communities in a bid to cut crime, since it "thrives amid economic failure".

"Under Labour there will be no more left-behind areas and no more forgotten communities," he said.

The Labour leader promised 30-hours per week of free childcare for children aged two, three, or four. Credit: PA
  • 30-hours free childcare for all two to four-year-olds

The Islington North MP also promised a Labour government would deliver 30-hours per week of free childcare for those aged two, three, and four, as well as additional subsidised hours of childcare on top of the 30-hours, free for those on the lowest incomes and capped at £4 an hour for the rest.

Under the current Government, "families most in need [of childcare] are not even entitled to it and many who are struggle to claim it, because the system's fragmented and underfunded", Mr Corbyn said.

"Decent early years education is now at risk of becoming a privilege."

"This universal free high quality childcare will benefit parents, families and children all across our country," stopping an inability to access cheap, decent childcare "holding back too many parents and families and the life chances of too many children".

Mr Corbyn promised Labour would keep the triple lock on pensions. Credit: PA
  • Elderly will keep triple lock pensions under Labour

Moving from the very young to old, Mr Corbyn appealed to the Tory's electoral stronghold, promising Labour would keep the "triple lock on pensions protected along with the winter fuel allowance, a free bus pass and a national health and care service that can look after you and your families with respect".

Mr Corbyn said the older generations deserved more since "it was you who rebuilt our country after the war, kick-started our economy, built our NHS and created our social security system".

Mr Corbyn used the example of Carillion to warn against privatisation. Credit: PA
  • Privatisation: 'What has long been a scam is now a crisis'

Mr Corbyn, a firm believer in socialism attacked "the failure of privatisation and outsourcing" under the Conservative Government, calling it a "scam" which has become "a crisis".

Listing what he saw as examples, the Labour leader said the "privatised probation service is on the brink of meltdown...

"On the railways, the East Coast franchise has collapsed for the third time in a decade, bailed out by taxpayers yet again.

"And the giant privateer Carillion has gone bankrupt, sunk in a sea of reckless greed, leaving hospitals half-built, workers dumped on the dole and pensions in peril, while Carillion directors continued to stuff their pockets with bonuses and dividends, and small businesses in the supply chain took heavy losses or went bust."

Since Labour lost power eight years ago, the country has suffered "destructive austerity" and "social vandalism", Mr Corbyn said, adding that it was "only Labour councils that are taking every step to protect people and services...

"We will rebuild the public realm and create a genuinely mixed economy for the 21st century.

"And after a decade of austerity, the next Labour government will confront the challenge of rebuilding our public services."

  • Jeremy Corbyn ends his speech by telling the conference that "Labour is ready" to "rebuild Britain"

  • What has the response to the speech been?

Unions hailed Jeremy Corbyn's speech as inspiring but business groups were more critical.

Len McCluskey, general secretary of Unite said: "We heard a Labour leader draw a very clear line under the failed policies of the past, policies that have caused despair and division in our communities, and then set out a distinctive, different, positive Labour programme for the country."

While Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI Director-General, praised some aspects of the speech, she said Labour must do more to engage with businesses: "From onshore power to affordable childcare, the Labour leader's speech echoes calls from firms for more action on climate change and to unlock productivity.

"But this will only happen if Labour invites business into the tent.

"Continual public barbs and backward-facing policy are deterring entrepreneurs and investors, at a time when we need them most.

"Profit and enterprise are the basis of jobs and growth, with firms paying enough tax to fund the NHS every year and much more besides."

Dr Adam Marshall, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, took a similar line to Ms Fairbairn saying that "while there were some bright spots, Jeremy Corbyn missed a golden opportunity to extend an olive branch to British business, big and small alike.

"Labour must work more closely with businesses to transform the economy to the benefit of people and communities across the UK."