LONDON (Reuters) - Jeremy Corbyn, leader of Britain’s opposition Labour Party which is currently languishing behind the ruling Conservatives in opinion polls, says he will not quit as leader if he loses a national election next month.
Corbyn, who is due to officially launch his party’s election campaign on Tuesday, told BuzzFeed News he would carry on whatever the outcome of the June 8 poll despite surveys predicting Labour heading for its worst results in decades.
“I was elected leader of this party and I’ll stay leader of this party,” Corbyn told BuzzFeed on Monday.
Some recent opinion polls have put Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservatives ahead of Labour by more than 20 percentage points and was on course for a landslide victory, a result which May says will strengthen her hand in Brexit negotiations.
Pollster ICM said on Monday that the Conservative Party’s lead was the biggest on record on record for any British election survey it had conducted and commentators, including some senior Labour figures, say Corbyn is to blame for the party’s growing unpopularity.
Corbyn, a socialist who has pledged higher taxes on the wealthy and a crackdown on powerful corporations, fought off a challenge to his leadership last September, only a year after he was first elected to the position with many of his own lawmakers doubting his appeal to the wider electorate.
“I‘m serious about winning the election,” Corbyn told BuzzFeed. “I know what I believe in, I know what I do. I never respond to personal abuse of me, because I’d rather get my policies across. By not responding it forces the other side to engage with the policy debate.”
At his campaign launch on Tuesday, Corbyn will say Labour can transform Britain from a country rigged in favour of the rich and powerful to a place where people can lead richer lives.
Having faced criticism for being unclear on Britain’s divorce from the European Union, he will also say the issue of Brexit has been settled.
“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 will say according to a statement released by his office.
Reporting by Michael Holden; editing by Guy Faulconbridge