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Corbyn calls for unity to defeat Tories

JEREMY CORBYN has insisted Labour and its policies are ‘needed more than ever’ but told his party they must ‘remain united’ if they are to get into power.

The leader said he took his ‘share’ of the responsibility for the party’s by-election defeat in Copeland, Cumbria, on Thursday and conceded that Labour had not yet done enough to rebuild trust with disillusioned voters.

‘Now is not the time to retreat, to run away or give up,’ he told the Scottish Labour Party conference in Perth.

‘Comrades, let us never forget it’s not called the struggle for nothing.’

He insisted, with the UK’s ‘rigged economy’ leaving millions of people in poverty and reliant on food banks, that it is a radical Labour programme that is needed more now than ever… but to win that fight we need to remain united.’

Mr Corbyn spoke out after his deputy leader Tom Watson challenged Unite union boss Len McCluskey and others to speak up for the under pressure party leader.

Speaking on ITV’s Peston On Sunday, he said Mr Corbyn’s cheerleaders ‘should be sticking with their leader in the bad times, not just the good’. He said it was not ‘a suicide approach’ to stick with Mr Corbyn, as he ruled out a fresh leadership contest.

Meanwhile, shadow attorney general Shami Chakrabarti blamed the media, the weather and party divisions for Labour’s defeat to the Tories in the Copeland by-election.