It tends to be the case that if you hear cheers from outside a meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party, it’s safe to bet it’s not Jeremy Corbyn doing the talking. However, tonight that all changed.
The Labour leader received a 45-second standing ovation from his colleagues in what was a positive and productive meeting. After Labour defied expectations in last week’s election, the leader was welcomed by his party with rapturous applause. In his speech to his party, Corbyn said they had shown what they can do when the party is united – and that this must continue as they campaign to win power:
‘Last Thursday, we turned the tables on Theresa May’s gamble and gained seats in every region and nation of Britain and I’m particularly delighted that we have increased our representation in Scotland.
We increased the Labour vote by the largest margin in any election since 1945 and gained seats as a party for the first time since 1997.
So now the election is over, the next phase of our campaign to win power for the majority has already begun. We must remain in permanent campaign mode on a General Election footing.’
Corbyn also said he planned to visit all of the Tory held marginals in the coming months.
His words went down well with the party. MPs dripping in sweat (thanks to a very hot room, rather than just pure excitement) praised the leader on their exit. There was a united message: the Tories are weakened and a Labour government is a very real possibility. Given the bitter feuds that have divided the party for the past two years and the insults that have been thrown on both sides, it’s unlikely that the peace will last indefinitely. But tonight the Labour party was united – something that will worry the Tories as they bicker over their recent plight.