UPDATE: Corbyn vows to carry on as Dugher warns Labour not to be self-indulgent

Jeremy Corbyn
Jeremy Corbyn
Have your say

JEREMY CORBYN has vowed to “carry on” even if his MPs try to oust him as Labour leader, insisting he has no intention of quitting.

The Leader of the Opposition was elected to head the Labour Party with a huge mandate from party members and supporters despite negligible support from his MPs.

At the start of his first party conference as leader, Mr Corbyn said Labour MPs would not force him out.

Mr Corbyn told the Observer he would need to lose a full leadership contest before leaving his post.

He said: “There is a democratic process in the party and that can be operated at any time.

“But am I going to resign? No. Of course not.

“No. No. I will carry on.”

The Parliamentary Labour Party can trigger a leadership contest if 20% of them - 46 of the 232 Labour MPs - unite behind an alternative candidate.

But in the interview, Mr Corbyn insisted he could see himself as Prime Minister in five years’ time, adding: “I think about the issues, the opportunities and the responsibilities that go with that, of course.”

Amid continuing disputes over party policy and ahead of a crunch emergency conference debate on Trident, Labour is due to review how it makes policy.

Activists will be told of moves to involve the members and supporters who swept Mr Corbyn to the leadership.

A spokesman for Mr Corbyn said the leader wanted to hear the views of grassroots activists and the supporters who paid £3 to take part in the election.

“We see Jeremy’s election as the party telling us they want more open and democratic politics,” the spokesman said.

“We are launching a review of how we make policy and how we can make it more inclusive.”

The review will be formally announced by shadow cabinet minister Angela Eagle at the conference and will also look at the “use of technology” in the policy-making process.

Shadow culture secretary and Barnsley East MP Michael Dugher warned against any attempt to introduce mandatory reselection of MPs saying it would be “totally destructive”.

Although Mr Corbyn’s team has repeatedly said he does not want to require MPs to face reselection by their local parties, some of his leading supporters strongly back the idea.

The calls have prompted fears among moderates that the left would use to try to drive them out of the party.

Mr Dugher told the Sunday Times: “If you get into things like mandatory reselection you are heading down the Wacky Races road. We’ve played this game before and it doesn’t end well. It’s time to stop our punishment beatings.

“It is totally destructive and it’s self-indulgent as well.

Ahead of the main conference, Mr Corbyn told Labour’s women’s conference in Brighton he had a mandate to “toughen our opposition to austerity”.

“Women are hit hardest by austerity,” he said. “Whether it’s cuts to tax credits, to child benefits, to refuges, to public services, to benefits for all or to adult social care, in all cases it is women who are hit the hardest.

“And so, within our economic development, we are not going to change our economy by hitting the poorest in our society, we are not going to cut our way to prosperity.

“Let’s invest and grow our way to prosperity whilst eliminating or reducing the grotesque levels of inequality between the richest and the poorest in our society.

Mr Corbyn’s comments came after shadow chancellor John McDonnell set out Labour’s plan to support George Osborne’s fiscal charter designed to guarantee “budget responsibility” in a bid to restore the party’s economic credibility.

Meanwhile, Jeremy Corbyn has admitted talking to the Islamic State group in Syria is impossible.

Speaking on BBC One’s Andrew Marr programme, the Labour leader - who led the Stop the War coalition - said the terrorist organisation had to be cut off from arms and money.

Mr Corbyn, who has defended talking to the IRA during the Troubles, said the wider civil war in Syria and Iraq had to be tackled in concert with regional allies.

Asked if he would seek to open talks with the group, also known as Isis or Isil, Mr Corbyn said: “No, I wouldn’t.”

Mr Corbyn continued: “My view on Isis is you have to cut off their money, cut off their arms, cut off their oil sales, in order to try and isolate them.

“You also have got to have a political and a cultural campaign to try and persuade young people... there is nothing glamorous or great about what Isis are doing.

“It’s a perversion of Islam.”

He added: “What Isil are doing is appalling. What’s happening in Syria is also appalling, although the numbers of people killed by Isis and all the other conflicts going on is of a different proportion.”

Speaking to the Sunday Mirror ahead of the Labour conference in Brighton, Mr Corbyn said he did not want to be “boxed in” on any Commons vote on expanding British military action into Syria.

Prime Minister David Cameron is thought likely to bring a Commons vote on Britain joining the bombing campaign against Isis in Syria, alongside continuing similar action in Iraq.

Mr Corbyn said: “When it comes to the Commons, the issue will go before the shadow cabinet and the Parliamentary Labour Party, we will then decide what to do.

“If there is disagreement, which there may well be, then we will have to accommodate that difference of opinion.

“But I don’t want to be boxed in on this one.”

He added: “The danger is that if you bomb, you kill civilians.”