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{UAH} 'We are now a government in waiting': Jubilant Jeremy Corbyn greeted with ovation from Labour MPs

'We are now a government in waiting': Jubilant Jeremy Corbyn greeted with ovation from Labour MPs as he says Theresa May has no mandate to be PM

Leader Mr Corbyn held the first meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party since polling day

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The Evening Standard

A jubilant Jeremy Corbyn told his Labour MPs "we are now a government in waiting" as he was greeted with cheers and a standing ovation after his shock election gains.

The Labour leader lambasted Theresa May, telling MPs and peers that she had no mandate or legitimacy to be Prime Minister and that he will continue to campaign across the country.

Mr Corbyn, buoyed by Labour winning 30 seats and the Prime Minister losing her Commons majority, met with the Parliamentary Labour Party for the first time today since last Thursday's vote.

MPs cheered as he arrived and held a 45-second ovation for the Opposition leader, who said Labour had "turned the tables" on Mrs May.

The tone of today's meeting was a far cry from the criticism Mr Corbyn had previously faced from members of his own party. 

Thumbs up: A joyful Jeremy Corbyn. (Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty Images)

"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," Mr Corbyn told the Labour politicians.

"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.

"We achieved what we did last Thursday because we were a united party during the campaign and we need to maintain that unity and collective discipline in the weeks and months ahead.

Rivals: May and Corbyn exchange words as they leave the Commons after its first sitting since the election on Tuesday. (PA)

"We will continue to take the fight to the Tories and I will be out campaigning around the country in Conservative marginals in those extra seats we need to gain to deliver the government for the many that almost 13 million people voted for last week.

"Now as Parliament returns, we have a Government in complete disarray still unable to reach an agreement, it seems, with the DUP and desperately delaying the Queen's Speech and Brexit negotiations.

"Far from being strong and stable, the Government Theresa May is putting together is weak, wobbly and out of control. This is a Government on notice from the voters."

He added: "Theresa May has no mandate and no legitimacy for policies that do not have the support of the majority of the British people.

"We are now a government in waiting and we must think and act at all times with that in mind.

"That is our responsibility to the huge numbers who voted for our manifesto last week: a programme to transform Britain for the many that caught the imagination of millions.

"This was a remarkable result achieved because we stayed united and worked as a team and I have no doubt together we can win the next general election, whenever that may be."

Mr Corbyn is set to visit 65 Tory-held marginal seats over the coming months in a sign that he is maintaining the pace of his campaigning in the expectation that the Government will fall.

Macron greets Mrs May before a working dinner at the Elysee Palace in Paris (REUTERS)

A Labour source said some of Mr Corbyn's critics in Parliament were "gracious enough to point out that they hadn't always had confidence in his leadership but they did now and that they had underestimated him".

Today's meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party comes after Prime Minister Theresa May met members of the 1922 Committee – the Tories' equivalent – on Monday.

After the first sitting of the Commons today, the Prime Minister then travelled to France to meet with President Emmanuel Macron before watching England play France in a friendly football match.


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