Jeremy Corbyn says Labour will back snap election despite poll woes
"We’ve got more members than we’ve ever had before, we’ve paid off all our debts to the party... we are in a very strong, organised position.”
Jeremy Corbyn has confirmed that Labour MPs would vote with the Conservatives and support Theresa May if she calls an early general election next year.
The Fixed-Term Parliament Act dictates that elections will take place every five years – unless two-thirds of the Commons backs a snap vote.
The prime minister has insisted she will not call an early election – despite her slim majority and the Tories’ commanding and consistent polling advantage over Labour.
May’s repeated denials have failed to dampen speculation that she could seek a fresh mandate in 2017, however.
In an interview with The Independent, Corbyn said Labour was “ready for it” if there was a general election, adding: “We’ve got more members than we’ve ever had before, we’ve paid off all our debts to the party, we don’t have any mortgages, we are in a very strong, organised position.”
He also confirmed for the first time that Labour MPs would support a Commons motion to dissolve Parliament early.
The Labour leader said: “I personally am slightly sceptical about the Fixed-Term Parliaments Acts anyway… she has not said she’s going to do that but that is what I’m saying is one possibility.
“If there’s a vote to dissolve Parliament then obviously we will vote with it.”
He said Labour’s standing in the public was improving – despite disappointing results in recent parliamentary contests in Richmond Park and Sleaford & North Hykeham – as he pointed to strong council by-election performances.
“While the results in Richmond and Sleaford and North Hykeham weren’t that good, what wasn’t reported on the same day was that we gained overall control of the Telford and Wrekin council by winning a ward that has never, ever been Labour before. We also had an excellent result in Lancaster in a council by-election there,” he said.
Elsewhere, Mr Corbyn also stamped down on calls from senior figures – including Labour frontbencher Clive Owen - to enter into a so-called “progressive alliance” with the Liberal Democrats and other parties to take on the Conservatives.
He attacked Tim Farron’s party’s time in government in the last parliament and said any deal with them would not be “credible”.