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JEREMY CORBYN thanked Labour members ahead of his successor’s election on Saturday, adding that his “voice will not be stilled” as he continues his campaign for socialism.
In his email to members, the outgoing Labour leader said it had been “the honour of [his] life” to lead the party.
The Islington North MP since 1983 added: “Our members are my inspiration, and I am so proud that we have become a party of nearly 600,000.
“I have made it a priority to meet members in every part of our country, and I learned so much from you.”
He said the coronavirus crisis has further highlighted the underfunding of NHS and social care in the last 10 years of Tory-led austerity, as well as lack of employment rights, “scandalously low” welfare benefits, housing insecurity, and homelessness.
The pandemic has also shown that society should work primarily for the workers that keep the country going during such a crisis, including cleaners, nurses, care workers and supermarket staff who are “often women and migrant workers on low pay,” he added.
Mr Corbyn apologised for Labour not winning an election, despite three years ago achieving the biggest vote increase since 1945.
“Sadly, the 2019 election was a Brexit election and our attempt to bridge the gap between Leave and Remain voters was unsuccessful,” he added.
“I can assure you my voice will not be stilled. I’ll be out there campaigning for socialism, peace and justice, and I feel sure we’ll be doing that together.”
The next Labour leader must not lose sight of the left-wing policies championed by Mr Corbyn, his wife Laura Alvarez said today.
Ms Alvarez said she found it “incredibly hard” to see her husband’s character attacked and to hear his “words twisted by his political opponents and some in the media” during his five years as leader of the opposition.
She said: “The brutal irony is that if we had pulled together, we would have been ready to lead the country rather than suffer more austerity under the Tories.
The members’ ballot for the leadership contest between Rebecca Long Bailey, Lisa Nandy and Keir Starmer closed at noon on Thursday.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, all events and hustings during the final weeks were cancelled.
Dr Rosena Allin-Khan, Angela Rayner, Richard Burgon, Dawn Butler and Ian Murray are in the running for the deputy leadership.
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