Jeremy Corbyn: Let's wipe slate clean and move forward

Media caption‘Let’s come together and fight Tories,’ Jeremy Corbyn tells Labour MPs

Jeremy Corbyn says he wants to “wipe the slate clean” if he retains his position as Labour leader.

Mr Corbyn told the BBC he had never responded to the “unpleasant remarks” directed at him by a “very large number of Labour MPs” during the campaign.

And he said “an awful lot” of MPs had contacted him keen to “play their part” in the party after the leadership contest is over.

Voting has now closed and the result is due to be announced on Saturday.

Mr Corbyn is the overwhelming favourite to win and, despite apparent strong support among the party’s supporters, most of his MPs do not back his leadership, and he has faced mass resignations from his shadow cabinet.

Speaking to BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg, he said: “I have had an awful lot of calls from Labour MPs over the last few days, interested in how we come together after the 24th, how they play their part in taking the fight to the Tories in Parliament and outside.”

If he beats Owen Smith, he said he would be “the same Jeremy Corbyn that I’ve been through the last year and the last 30 years in Parliament”, and that he would invite his critics “to come on board to work together”.

Image caption

Jeremy Corbyn – who is growing an olive tree in his office – has spoken of offering MPs an “olive branch” if he is re-elected

He added: “Despite a lot of very personal criticisms that have been made about me, all the unpleasant remarks that have been made to me by a very large number of Labour MPs, I have not replied to any of them.

“I have taken it on board, understood what they’re saying and asking them to behave in a decent and responsible way and come together so that we do have an ability to take the fight to the Tories.

“Wipe the slate clean and move forward.”

He expressed a hope that some of the front bench MPs who resigned would return, saying “we need to bring in many other talents” to the shadow cabinet.

Media captionJeremy Corbyn speaks to Laura Kuenssberg

And he said the party’s position was “very strong”, despite polling showing it lagging behind the Conservatives, saying Labour had held seats in Parliamentary by-elections and won mayoral elections.

“When people have actually voted, we have won,” he added.

He said he was “very confident” people would see that “a Labour government and Labour policies make a real difference to their lives”.

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