Labour is 'the resistance to Boris Johnson' Jeremy Corbyn claims in New Year message
Labour is "the resistance to Boris Johnson", Jeremy Corbyn has claimed just weeks after the party's crushing general election defeat.
In his New Year message, Mr Corbyn insisted the Labour movement remained "very strong” and was "up for the fight" in 2020.
But he made no direct mention of the general election result - Labour's worst since 1935 - simply saying it had been “quite the year” for his party.
Calling on people to join Labour, he echoed his manifesto message that “together we can bring about real change for our country”, despite a fourth defeat at the ballot box in a row.
The 70-year-old, who has indicated he will stay as leader until his successor is elected in the spring, says the new decade will be crucial to “stop irreversible damage being caused by the climate crisis”.
He said: “2019 has been quite the year for our country and for our labour movement.
“And now we are not just entering a new year but a new decade. And the period ahead could not be more important.”
Mr Corbyn added: “It won’t be easy. But we have built a movement. We are the resistance to Boris Johnson.
“We will be campaigning every day. We will be on the frontline, both in Parliament and on the streets.
“Protecting our public services. Protecting healthcare free at the point of use. Protecting our communities, in all their brilliant diversity.
“And standing up for internationalism, global solidarity and co-operation, and working with movements and parties seeking social justice and change all over the world.
“And make no mistake our movement is very strong. We are half a million people and growing. We are in every region and nation of our country.”
He finished by saying: “The fight continues. There is no other choice.”
But his message was criticised by one of his MPs, Neil Coyle, who said: "We would be better able to 'resist' Johnson if Corbyn hadn't just reduced our representation to the lowest levels since before the French resistance even existed."
The member for Bermondsey and Old Southwark told PoliticsHome: "If Corbyn had resisted anti-semitism with any energy we may also have done better.
"If his team hadn't ignored 100,000 members leaving we may have been better able to resist the Tories in the election.
"If Corbyn's advisors had acted sooner perhaps the split in the Party, with over a dozen MPs quitting, might have been prevented.
"We are barely a resistance the longer Corbyn continues. New leadership must end this middle class affectation with protest and rebuild a party able to get back in Government and transform people's lives."