‘Austerity is a political choice’ – Jeremy Corbyn rallies the faithful in York

30 Jul 2016 @ 5.36 pm
| News, Politics
Jeremy Corbyn at the York rally in St Helen's Square. Photograph: Carlos Angel Ferrer of Kyoto Taiconauta Photography
Jeremy Corbyn at the York rally in St Helen’s Square. Photograph: Carlos Angel Ferrer of Kyoto Taiconauta Photography

Jeremy Corbyn was in York on Friday (July 29), rallying support for his bid to remain Labour leader after a challenge was mounted by the Welsh MP Owen Smith.

The leader of the opposition spoke to a crowd of more than 1,000 on top of a bench on St Helen’s Square.

Our live stream of the 30-minute speech, which is on the YorkMix Facebook page, has also reached more than 70,000 people. It can be seen here.

After hearing from local councillors and activists, Jeremy began his speech by speaking about the recent events in the city, praising local MP Rachael Maskell for her work, particularly following last year’s Boxing Day floods.

He also thanked her for remaining in the shadow cabinet after a string of Labour MPs quit in the wake of the decision by the UK to leave the EU, saying they had lost confidence in his leadership.

‘Terrible floods’

Speaking about Rachael, who was not at the rally, he said: “I was here during the floods over Christmas. Those terrible floods that took place.

“I was very proud of the work done by your MP Rachael Maskell. The very genuine and decent support she gave to people going through a very tough time.

“We spent a long time going through with families trying to work out what had happened.

“And as I said to David Cameron a few days later: ‘Do you know what it’s like when your flat is flooded? When you lose your furniture, your family photos? Do you know what it’s like?’

“I’m still waiting for his answer. But Rachael was there and she was doing a great job as she continues to do for this city.”

He added: “She sent me a text for this evening wishing us well for this rally. She is away, having a well-deserved break and that’s absolutely fine.

“I want to thank her for her work as an MP and also for her work in our shadow cabinet: she didn’t resign, she stayed on.

“She stood up for proper flood protection and flood defences in this city.”

‘Corbyn in, Tories out’

Jeremy also spoke about the issues of poverty and inequality in the UK, warning his party not to adopt “austerity-lite” against “austerity heavy”.

He said: “Austerity is a political choice, not an economic necessity.”

He also spoke on mental health and on the treatment of some high street stores towards their workers.

At the end of the speech, Jeremy was mobbed by those watching his speech and they chanted: “Corbyn in, Tories out.”