Sunday 25 September 2016

Leader plays up moderate credentials

Kylie MacLellan

Published 28/09/2015 | 02:30

British Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn
British Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn

Jeremy Corbyn has sought to portray himself as more moderate than ´how he has been depicted by his opponents at he hosted his first Labour conference as leader.

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"I was elected with the biggest-ever mandate of any Labour leader," Mr Corbyn said.

"I want to achieve a decent, democratic society where nobody is forgotten and we don't as a society pass by on the other side while the poor lie in the gutter."

Four months after Labour suffered a crushing election defeat to David Cameron's Conservatives, Mr Corbyn was chosen as party leader two weeks ago. His support for nationalising assets such as railways has worried some business leaders and the Conservatives say that by opposing the renewal of Britain's nuclear-armed Trident submarine fleet, he poses a threat to national security.

But in a move that will spare Labour a potentially divisive debate, delegates voted not to include Trident on the list of topics for discussion at the party conference in the southern English city of Brighton.

"Is it so disastrous that politics has two opinions?" Mr Corbyn asked when he was questioned on the difference of opinion within the party over Trident.

In his two weeks since taking charge, he has been criticised for failing to present his policies clearly and for changing tack on issues such as Britain's membership of the European Union, on which a referendum is due by the end of 2017.

A long-time critic of the 28-member bloc, Mr Corbyn has since said that Labour should seek to reform the EU from within.

In keeping with his anti-austerity platform during the leadership campaign, Mr Corbyn said he would try to reduce the lowest rate of tax to help Britain's poorest, but would not raise the top rate above 50pc. It currently stands at 45pc.

He said he would chase big firms that evade taxes by registering their headquarters offshore and that more policies would be unveiled during the conference.

Irish Independent

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