Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn today brushed off polling suggesting his party would lose eight seats across Yorkshire to the Conservatives at the General Election as he was cheered by dozens of supporters on a visit to one of the region's key battlegrounds.
Around 180 people turned out to hear Jeremy Corbyn talk this afternoon in the town of Dinnington in South Yorkshire. Campaigners from around the area, brandishing ‘Justice for Orgreave’ banners, stood in the cold and rain when the Labour party leader came to visit his 82nd constituency of the election campaign.
Appearing in the constituency of Rother Valley, a Tory target seat that has been held by Labour since its creation in 1918 but now only needs a 3.9 per cent swing to turn blue, Mr Corbyn said that the Labour party would invest in South Yorkshire and areas like Rother Valley because they have been “damaged by a lack of investment in the past”.
When asked by The Yorkshire Post what it was that has been turning voters off Labour and to the Conservatives, as Labour are set to lose eight seat in Yorkshire to the Tories according
to this week's YouGov polling, Mr Corbyn said that the Labour manifesto was offering something different.
“The election hasn’t happened yet, the election is tomorrow and our party is out there campaigning on a manifesto which will bring investment to Yorkshire, which will bring new
transport infrastructure across the North, which will protect trading relationships and will give our schools the funding we need and our young people the opportunities they need.
“I am very proud of what we are doing here. We cannot go on as a country being run by billionaires and tax relief at the top while all of our working-class communities remain
underfunded and in such huge stress, that is what our manifesto offers”, he added.
The Labour leader highlighted the party’s plans for the area including establishing a regional development bank with an aim to support industry. While Mr Corbyn also pledged to invest
in Crossrail for the north, the plan to create a high-speed rail link across the North of England.
The Labour leader went on to say that choices in the election were clear between Labour and the Conservatives, saying if you vote Conservative “inequality will get worse … the
inequality between the regions will get worse”.
Appealing to the crowds Mr Corbyn asked whether they would trust Boris Johnson on the NHS and trade negotiations with the United States to shouts of ‘no’.
The Labour leader raised documents that gave details of meeting between US and UK officials. The document showed US interest in discussing drug pricing, extending patents
that stop cheaper generic medicines being used and referencing to the US policy of making “total market access” a starting point in trade talks.
“I am proud that we revealed those documents”, Mr Corbyn said.
One supporter shouted of any attempts by the US to access the NHS to ‘get your bloody hands off’, to which Mr Corbyn said the supporter made a good point and joked whether
they would like to become an advisor to a new Labour government.
Highlighting shortages of nurses creating a situation where patients were being treated on the floor, waiting hours in A&E, similar to the case of a four-year-old boy at Leeds General
Infirmary who waited with suspected pneumonia on the floor for over four hours due to a lack of beds, Mr Corbyn said Labour was providing hope for a society that cares for those in
need, whether it be in hospital or social care.
Criticising the Conservatives’ latest policies announcements offering 50,000 more nurses that turned out to be only 19,000 more, the Labour leader said that the NHS was “under the
most grievous threat” and the Tories plans were “a load of old nonsense … which didn’t add up to a row of beans”.
When quizzed on the Labour party’s Brexit policy being vague, Mr Corbyn said that their policy had not put off voters in Yorkshire.
“There is nothing wishy washy about a policy that wants to bring people together. It is actually serious politics to say I don’t represent 48 per cent, I don’t represent 52 per cent, I represent the wishes of all people”, he added.
Mr Corbyn added in his speech that the Labour party “represents people of all backgrounds, all ethnic communities”, and appealing to the crows said that Labour would support WASPI
women claimed were treated ‘disgracefully’ by the Government after the raising of the state pension age for women, open a public inquiry into Orgreave, the case of violent
confrontation between police and striking miners, and would rebalance the mine worker’s pension scheme that he claimed was “grievously mishandled by the government”.