Labour's Corbyn says ready to win UK election
Armed with 10 new policy pledges, Britain's main opposition Labour Party is ready to rebuild trust and win the next election, even if the ruling Conservatives call one for next year, leader Jeremy Corbyn will say on Wednesday.
After winning election as leader for the second time at the weekend, Corbyn will call on his deeply divided party to "end the trench warfare", his spokesman said, and unite to challenge Prime Minister Theresa May's government.
But underlining the differences in his party, a top aide will criticise Labour for allowing the government to plot a "hard Brexit" to sever ties with the European Union unopposed while they were arguing over their leader.
Corbyn, a veteran peace campaigner, will call on lawmakers to rally around his new agenda, or 10 policy pledges, which include one for full employment, action to secure an equal society, and public ownership and control of services.
"The central task for the whole Labour Party is to rebuild trust and support to win the next general election and form the next government," he will tell his party, according to extracts from his speech.
"Whatever the prime minister says about snap elections, there is every chance that Theresa May will cut and run for an early election. So I put our party on notice today."
May, who was appointed prime minister after Britain's vote to leave the EU forced the resignation of her predecessor David Cameron, has said she does not intend to hold an early election. The country's next parliamentary election is due in 2020.
Corbyn's calls for unity are repeated publicly by almost all in his party, but privately many centrist Labour lawmakers say they fear his win will serve to cement his authority and drive the party further left away from the centre-ground that handed them power between 1997 and 2010 under Tony Blair.
In a further sign of possible rifts, Corbyn's spokesman on home affairs, Andy Burnham, will urge Labour to be "the champions of a fair Brexit" when some leading Conservatives are backing a clean break with the EU and its single market.
"While we've been turning inward, the Tories have been taking liberties and plotting a hard-line, right-wing Brexit that burns Britain's bridges. Let's unite, turn the page and turn our fire on them," he will say in a separate speech.
Corbyn's spokesman said the Labour leader wanted to see what the government's negotiating stance was before setting out a clearer position on Brexit, but that he did want to ease the impact of high levels of immigration.
He said a Labour government would reinstate a migrant impact fund to offer communities "absorbing new populations" help to ease pressure on public services, such as hospitals and schools - a move to win back the millions in Labour's traditional heartlands who voted for Brexit.
For Corbyn, the spokesman said, tackling the causes of migration was more important than bringing down the numbers of people coming to Britain - something millions of voters said was a priority in their decision to leave the European Union.
Instead, he wants an "equilibrium of rights" across Europe so that wages and conditions come into line, which could deter many migrants from arriving in Britain looking for work.
"Labour is preparing for a general election in 2017, we expect all our members to support that effort, and we will be ready whenever it comes," Corbyn will say.