Jeremy Corbyn gets to 17 nominations for Labour leader and tells TP: I don't want charity
Jeremy Corbyn has said he does not want “charity” as he fights to secure the nominations needed to stand in the Labour leadership contest.
The left wing candidate now has 17 nominations, with the newly-elected MP for Hornsey and Wood Green, Catherine West, the latest to back him.
There are still dozens of MPs who are yet to formally say who they are going to support. But with time running out for Corbyn to secure the 35 needed to make the final shortlist, there has been speculation that the front-runners could ask potential supporters to switch sides in order to broaden the debate.
Andy Burnham said yesterday that he was prepared to offer a helping hand to rivals without enough nominations to stand in the contest. He told the Evening Standard:
“I wouldn’t be against it as long as it didn’t create something artificial. It would have to be something that was used judiciously. But if it was to get someone over the line I wouldn’t be against it."
But responding to this, Corbyn told TP he did not want to see MPs coerced into supporting him - and that he would be part of the Labour leadership debate whatever happens:
“I’m not particularly into charity nominations. I want to see a proper debate within the party.
"Essentially there’s going to be that debate anyway because there are many in the party, and many members who joined the party, because they want to something different. So that debate’s going to happen and I will certainly be part of that debate whatever the outcome.
"I want people to choose of their own volition, I don’t want charity.”
The MP for Islington North also indicated that he had not given up on getting the 35 MPs needed before Monday night's deadline. Speaking on Thursday afternoon, he said:
“We’ve just been through a list of those who haven’t nominated and worked out how we approach them.”
Corbyn summarised his pitch for the leadership:
“Remember where Labour’s come from, look where we’re going as a country under the Tories. We’re heading into inequality, poverty and huge cuts in public services. In 2020 I want us to offer something very different and very much better, and that means an alternative economic strategy.”
The full interview with Corbyn will be published shortly.