Corbyn launches Labour’s local election campaign

Jeremy Corbyn has launched Labour's local election campaign at an event in Westminster, one of the councils the party is heavily targeting to turn from blue to red on 3 May.

The Islington North MP pledged to address violent crime, with more than 50 people stabbed or shot to death in London alone this year already. Leaked Home Office documents have suggested is down to cuts in police numbers – although home secretary Amber Rudd has stressed that is not the case.

"We always said cuts have consequences and now the Home Office's own officials agree with us," he said this morning. "Todays leaked documents make a nonsense of the Tories' repeated claims that their cuts to police numbers have had no effect."

Corbyn also promised not to use EU citizens as "a bargaining chip" – a sideswipe designed to win over the three million nationals living in the UK, although he said nothing specific about Brexit.

The speech referenced Grenfell – located in Kensington, another key battle ground – where residents "had been let down by their council and by the government".

"Grenfell told us something else about London something we see starkly every day that we may be united but we are also deeply unequal," Corbyn said. "The brutal and inescapable truth is that the fire simply would not have happened if the occupants had been wealthy."

He slammed the government for failing to house the victims more than a year after the fire, saying they "have been forced to experience the double whammy of a heartless Tory government and a hopeless Conservative council".

The Labour leader also took aim at homelessness, the minimum wage, the NHS and social care and attempted to tackle claims of anti-Semitism, which have hurt the party in recent weeks.

Corbyn said: "Our party prides itself on being the party that brought in the Race Relations Acts into law in 1968 and 1976, that delivered the Equality Act in 2010, were the party that was home to the first black MPs in 1987.

"Those gains werent given, they were fought for with determination, it took boldness and it meant challenging prejudice. We need all those attributes to defeat rising levels of anti-Semitism in society today… Prejudice and hatred of Jewish people has no place whatsoever in society and every one of us has a responsibility to ensure it is never allowed to fester again."

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