As we approach the end of the year I want to take the opportunity to thank each and every Labour Party member and wish you all a very merry Christmas.
If there is one thing that is certain, it is that the Labour Party’s biggest asset in meeting our challenges is you, our members and supporters.
The party has never grown faster — with more new members in the last 20 months than in the previous 20 years.
New members and old, together, are a formidable force in British society and politics. When we campaign together we have great results.
In the last year we forced the Tories to drop their appalling plan to cut Personal Independence Payments for those with disabilities and they were forced to retreat on cuts to Working Tax Credits.
We have forced back their plan for ‘every school an academy’, defeated Tory changes to Sunday trading, and forced them to put their plans for Brexit before Parliament and the country.
In recent weeks, we have campaigned for our National Health Service and social care, which are in crisis due to Tory cuts and mismanagement.
The truth is that the rules of politics and the economy are rigged. Over the last decade most people have seen their living standards stagnate or fall, while an elite few prosper. There may be a new Prime Minister in Number 10 but the rules are still rigged against the majority of the British people.
Six years of austerity has hit public services, living standards and opportunities for many people. The Tories’ long-term economic plan has been all pain for little gain. Public service cuts for the many, to fund tax cuts for the few.
The consequences are stark: increased poverty and street homelessness, oversized classes in many of our schools and 120,000 children spending this Christmas in temporary accommodation without a home to call their own.
It does not have to be like this.
Labour would invest to grow our economy, raise wage levels and ensure no one and no community is left behind.
Brexit is a huge challenge for our country. We have to heal the divides in our country — and speak for both those who voted Leave and Remain, to stop the Tory vision for Brexit — of a country where workers are easier to exploit and taxes easier to avoid. We will not obstruct the democratic decision to Leave, but we will oppose policies that harm our people.
It is our party, our movement, that will unite people to change Britain for the better, and give us the chance to bring more humanity and peace to a troubled world.
Let us work together — and enjoy the common endeavour we are embarked on.
Thank you for all that you do for our party, and I hope you have the opportunity to spend some time with loved ones over the Christmas period.