Jeremy Corbyn: 2019 was 'quite a year' for Labour

31 December 2019, 06:50

The Labour leader will leave the role early in 2020
The Labour leader will leave the role early in 2020. Picture: PA
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Jeremy Corbyn has used his final new year message as Labour leader to say his party is "the resistance" against Boris Johnson and will be "on the front line" and "on the streets" opposing the Government.

Mr Corbyn made no reference to his party's historic defeat in the general election when they lost to the Tories, who took an 80 seat majority, the worst election defeat for Labour since 1935.

There was also no mention of his departure from the party leadership despite announcing he will step down early next year.

Mr Corbyn used the message to hit out at billionaires and said Labour "will be on the front line, both in Parliament and on the streets".

He also said that the new decade will be crucial to “stop irreversible damage being caused by the climate crisis”, “stop the pain” of food banks and poverty “plaguing our country”, and “to protect our precious NHS”.

Acknowledging that the years ahead will be tough, the Labour leader added: “We’re up for the fight. To protect what we hold dear. And to build to win and to transform.”

Mr Corbyn conceded it had been "quite a year" for his party and called for the NHS and climate change to be top priorities for the next decade.

In the message, Mr Corbyn said: "2019 has been quite the year for our country and for our Labour movement.

"And now we are not just entering a new year but a new decade. And the period ahead could not be more important.

"It will be crucial if we are to stop irreversible damage being caused by the climate crisis and the particular effects that has on people in the global south; if we are to stop the pain plaguing our country: food banks, poverty and people struggling to get by; if we are to protect our precious NHS.

"It won't be easy. But we have built a movement. We are the resistance to Boris Johnson.

"We will be campaigning every day. We will be on the front line, both in Parliament and on the streets."

Mr Corbyn said Labour will be "protecting our public services, protecting healthcare free at the point of use, protecting our communities, in all their brilliant diversity, and standing up for internationalism, global solidarity and co-operation, and working with movements and parties seeking social justice and change all over the world".

He added: "And make no mistake, our movement is very strong. We are half a million people and growing. We are in every region and nation of our country.

"We're not backed by the press barons, by the billionaires or by the millionaires who work for the billionaires. We're backed by you. We are by the many, for the many.

"2020 and the years ahead will be tough - no one is saying otherwise. But we're up for the fight, to protect what we hold dear, and to build to win and to transform.

"The fight continues. There is no other choice. So if you're with us already, I can't wait to meet the challenges ahead together.

"But if you're not, join us. Join Labour today. Together we can bring about real change for our country, for the many and not just the few."