(Changes dateline, adds context)
By Andrew Yates
MANCHESTER, England May 9 Jeremy Corbyn vowed
to carry on leading Britain's opposition Labour Party if he
loses a national election on June 8, defying polls showing he is
on course for defeat and concerns from within his party that his
leadership threatens its future.
Corbyn, who officially launched his party's election
campaign on Tuesday, told BuzzFeed News he would carry on
whatever the outcome.
"I was elected leader of this party and I'll stay leader of
this party," he said.
Corbyn has pledged higher taxes on the wealthy and a
crackdown on powerful corporations since he took control of the
centre-left Labour Party in 2015 thanks to a surprise surge in
support amongst grass roots member for his socialist agenda.
But he has struggled to unite Labour's elected ranks behind
his political vision or convince the wider public of his
leadership credentials, diminishing the party's ability to exert
pressure on issues like Britain's exit from the European Union.
Some recent opinion polls have put Prime Minister Theresa
May's Conservatives ahead of Labour by more than 20 percentage
points and on course for a landslide victory.
May says an election win will strengthen her hand in Brexit
negotiations, but opponents of her negotiating strategy fear it
will drown out Labour's voice in the debate over what kind of
deal Britain should seek from Brussels.
Having faced criticism for being unclear of his position on
Britain's divorce from the European Union, Corbyn said the issue
of whether Brexit should happen had been settled, and went on to
set out his negotiating objectives.
"Labour wants a jobs-first Brexit, a Brexit that safeguards
the future of Britain's vital industries, a Brexit that paves
the way to a genuinely fairer society and an upgraded economy,"
he said at the campaign launch in the northern city of
Pollster ICM said on Monday that the Conservative lead was
the biggest on record for any British election survey it had
Corbyn fought off a challenge to his leadership last year
thanks to overwhelming grassroots support, but his critics,
including some senior Labour figures, have remained vocal.
But Corbyn launched his campaign with an aggressive speech
aimed at the party's core voters, criticising the Conservatives
for being part of a system which he said was skewed towards the
"Labour is under attack because we are standing up to the
elites who are determined to hijack Brexit and pay even less tax
and take even more of the wealth that we all create," Corbyn
told the Manchester rally.
"When Labour wins there will be a reckoning for those who
thought they could get away with asset-stripping our industry,
crashing our economy through their greed, and ripping off
workers and consumers."
(Reporting by Michael Holden and William James; editing by