'Sharon Taylor will make a superb MP' - Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn endorses Stevenage candidate in surprise General Election visit
PUBLISHED: 14:05 19 May 2017 | UPDATED: 14:23 19 May 2017
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said he is confident his party can win the Stevenage seat during a surprise visit to the town this morning.
Mr Corbyn’s General Election campaign bus stopped off briefly at Hampson Park Community Centre, where he talked to members of the Woman Against State Pension Inequality campaign alongside Stevenage parliamentary candidate Sharon Taylor.
He told the Comet he expects Sharon to win the seat because she is “grounded in Stevenage”.
“Sharon Taylor is superb, grounded in the community,” said the Labour leader.
“A tribute to her town would be her election. She has done so much to improve housing and people’s lives in this town and she will be a superb MP.
“I’m really proud to be here supporting her.”
He added: “We’re in this community centre she brought me to on a cold wet day and we paddled around in the mud. And here we are today and it’s finished, it’s working and it’s providing a very important service for many people.”
Mr Corbyn said WASPI women had lost out because they were told their retirement age would rise and the government made no provision for it.
He said: “I think it’s a grave injustice, and in the promises we have outlined in our manifesto, we make sure there is justice for the WASPI women.”
Speaking about Brexit, Mr Corbyn said he is concerned that if the post-Brexit economic conditions aren’t right companies like Airbus will leave Stevenage.
On education, he said the party’s promise to offer free university tuition would help people like the WASPI women who get into debt themselves because they have to pay for their children to go to university, and would help stop the decline in numbers of working class people applying for university because they are worried about getting into debt.
He “couldn’t believe the stress” teachers are under having to try to balance their school budgets and fundraise for their schools, and also criticised the tight time slots given to carers so they sometimes only have 15 minutes to spend with their patients.
The Islington North MP said Tory policy was attacking “every vulnerable group” in society and Labour would spend money on services that matter by taxing the big companies. “And what’s wrong with that?” he asked.
Mr Corbyn also vowed to protect small businesses by legally making big companies pay their invoices within 30 days.
The Labour leader said he thought the election campaign was going “fantastically”. He said at the 45 or so events he had done so far, travelling up and down the country, the reception had been “wonderful, because people want change”. “We’re going to re-balance things a little bit in favour of the people”, he added.