As Labour conference gets underway, the main topic of conversation is Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership – and how long it can last. Following a failed Corbynite attempt to oust Tom Watson as deputy leader, a successful attempt to give the party’s national executive committee say over any interim leader and the news that Corbyn’s top aide has quit, there’s talk that the Labour leader is on the way out. Appearing on the Andrew Marr show in Brighton this morning, Jeremy Corbyn tried his best to kibosh the idea.
Corbyn told Andrew Marr that there would be a general election campaign this year and he would be the person leading his party into it. Of the rumours that he could resign in the near future, Corbyn declared such claims as ‘wishful thinking by some people’ before suggesting Marr is ‘probably’ in that group.
AM: Can you give me a commitment that you will definitely be leader of the Labour party into and after the next general election?
JC: I’m taking the party into the general election because I’m taking the party into a general election to end austerity, to bring forward policies that bring about a better standard of living and better opportunities for people all across this country. I’m enjoying doing that. I’m campaigning all the time, I did 40 events during August alone all round the country.
AM: And if you become prime minister of this country, are you going to serve as a full term?
JC: Of course
AM: And that’s a commitment?
JC: Why wouldn’t I? I’m very surprised by this question, what are you trying to say?
In a tense exchange, a testy Corbyn said the change in rules over any interim leader was not about giving his allies a veto over who would step in should he step away.