Corbyn accuses Tories of KILLING children with austerity
Corbyn accuses Tories of KILLING children with austerity amid signs his anti-Semitism crisis could limit Labour gains in local elections
- Millions of voters will go to polls in more than 4,000 seats across England today
- Tories facing uphill battle in London amid fears long-term strongholds could go
- Jeremy Corbyn accused Conservatives of causing deaths through austerity
- Some experts believe anti-Semitism row wracking Labour could limit their gains
Jeremy Corbyn accused the Conservatives of killing chidren with ‘heartless’ austerity policies today as he ramped up the rhetoric for local elections.
The Labour leader said the government’s policies had ‘almost certainly’ increased the death rate and infant mortality.
The intervention comes amid signs the anti-Semitism crisis that has been wracking the party could limit its gains in the English council polls.
Shadow chancellor John McDonnell also risked a backlash today by suggesting Labour authorities could increase council tax – saying he believes voters are ready to pay more.
Senior Labour figures have been trying to play down expectations, having previously boasted they were on track to seize Tory strongholds in London like Westminster, Wandsworth and Barnet.
Mr Corbyn (pictured voting in Islington today) is hoping to seize long-term Conservative strongholds in London
Elections are being held in English councils last fought over in 2014. Some 4,371 seats and 150 councils are at stake
Shadow chancellor John McDonnell risked a backlash today by suggesting Labour authorities could increase council tax – saying he believes voters are ready to pay more (file picture)
At one stage experts suggested the party could secure an extra 200 seats and the Conservatives would lose 75.
But Professor Stephen Fisher suggested yesterday that Labour could end up with 135 more, while the Tories could make a net gain of eight.
Across England, more than 4,000 seats are being contested in around 150 councils – including all 32 London boroughs, as well as every ward in Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds and Newcastle.
Mayoral elections are taking place in Hackney, Lewisham, Newham, Tower Hamlets, Watford and the Sheffield City region, but there are no polls in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.
Recent national opinion polls have seen Conservatives and Labour running virtually neck-and-neck.
However, London has been an extremely difficult battleground for the Tories since the Brexit vote.
A survey last week for Queen Mary University gave Mr Corbyn’s party an overwhelming 51 per cent to 29 per cent lead over the Tories in the capital – enough to deliver the best result in the capital for any party in more than 40 years.
In an article for the Daily Mirror, Mr Corbyn said the elections today gave voters the chance to send an ‘unmistakable message’ to the Government.
‘Tory austerity has almostcertainly increased the death rate. Tomorrow, we can strike a blow against these deadly policies,’ he wrote.
Mr Corbyn said figures showed there had been an extra 10,000 deaths in the first seven weeks of the year compared to the same period in the previous five years as well as an increase in the infant death rate for the second year in a row.
Theresa May cast her vote in Westminster this morning along with husband Philip
Although the gap with the Tories has narrowed slightly recently, a poll last week showed Jeremy Corbyn’s party is still 22 points ahead in London
‘These figures should shock us in to action,’ he added. ‘They are the result of Tory choices which have damaged the health and life chances of the many to swell the bank balances of the few.
‘Tomorrow’s local elections are a chance to send an unmistakable message to this heartless and incompetent Tory Government.
‘We can strike a blow against these deadly and failed policies and say enough of eight years of Tory austerity.’
‘Voters will go to the polls across England, where more than 4,000 seats are being contested in around 150 councils – including all 32 London boroughs, as well as every ward in Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds and Newcastle.’
Meanwhile, Mr McDonnell said in an interview with the Guardian that people were willing to ‘pay a bit more’ council tax.
‘The council tax issue is interesting,’ he said. ‘We’re getting on the doorstep — “I’d rather pay a bit more to get a decent service”.’
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