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Sun, 24 January 2021

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By Alice Lilly
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Jeremy Corbyn tells Labour MPs: We are a government in waiting

Jeremy Corbyn tells Labour MPs: We are a government in waiting
3 min read

Jeremy Corbyn has declared Labour is "a government in waiting" as he called on his MPs to maintain the unity they showed during the general election.


The Labour leader said the party would remain "in permanent campaign mode on a general election footing" in expectation of another snap poll.

He also revealed he will tour dozens of Tory-held marginals which Labour must win if they are to win a majority next time around.

Mr Corbyn's comments came after he was cheered and applauded at the first meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party since last Thursday's election.

It marked a far cry from PLP meetings over the past two years, which have often descended into angry clashes between the leader and his MPs.

In a rallying cry to his parliamentary colleagues, he said: "Now the election is over, the next phase of our campaign to win power for the majority has already begun. We must remain in permanent campaign mode on a general election footing.

"We achieved what we did last Thursday because we were a united party during the campaign and we need to maintain that unity and collective discipline in the weeks and months ahead.

"We will continue to take the fight to the Tories and I will be out campaigning around the country in Conservative marginals in those extra seats we need to gain to deliver the government for the many that almost 13 million people voted for last week."

Mr Corbyn added: "We have a government in complete disarray still unable to reach an agreement, it seems, with the DUP and desperately delaying the Queen’s Speech and Brexit negotiations.

"Far from being strong and stable, the government Theresa May is putting together is weak, wobbly and out of control. This is a government on notice from the voters.

"Theresa May has no mandate and no legitimacy for policies that do not have the support of the majority of the British people.

"We are now a government in waiting and we must think and act at all times with that in mind. That is our responsibility to the huge numbers who voted for our manifesto last week: a programme to transform Britain for the many that caught the imagination of millions.

"This was a remarkable result achieved because we stayed united and worked as a team and I have no doubt together we can win the next general election, whenever that may be."

Chuka Umunna, a critic of Mr Corbyn in the past, described the meeting as "excellent" and added: "Unity was the watchword, government is the aim."

Another MP said the meeting had been "more good-natured than in the last few months".

A confident Mr Corbyn had earlier mocked Theresa May as MPs returned to the Commons to re-elect John Bercow as Speaker.

He was also given a standing ovation by Labour MPs as he entered the chamber - a far cry from the muted reaction he usually received before the election.

The Labour leader said: "Democracy is a wondrous thing and can throw up some very unexpected results.

"I’m sure we all look forward to welcoming the Queen’s Speech just as soon as the coalition of chaos has been negotiated.

"I just let the House know and the rest of the nation know if that’s not possible, the Labour party stands ready to offer strong and stable leadership in the national interest."

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