Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has said a victory in next year’s City Hall elections would give the party an early opportunity to show people across the UK “the kind of society we want to create”.
Addressing members and activists ahead of the Labour’s annual conference, the Islington MP pledged to do “as much as I possibly can to support the campaign for the Assembly and the mayoralty in London”.
Senior figures in the party hope a win for mayoral candidate Sadiq Khan would address the concerns of those who fear the new leader’s brand of left-wing politics could jeopardise its chances of victory in the 2020 General Election.
Labour has only won the Mayoralty once in 2004 having seen its official candidate decisively beaten by Ken Livingstone when he stood as an independent in 2000 and Livingstone, later re-admitted into Labour, lose to Boris Johnson in 2008 and 2012.
Speaking on Saturday night Mr Corbyn described next year’s elections as “the best we’ve ever had to win back the mayoralty” and told his audience that doing so would allow the party “to bring forward those policies that will mean something to everyone in London and will be an example to the rest of the country of the kind of society we want to create in Britain.”
Corbyn highlighted housing as a key issue for the capital and said that while private sector accommodation “is necessary” it needed to be “regulated” to ensure tenants were treated fairly and not “threatened with eviction after 6 months or even less if they complain about the conditions”.
Mr Khan has promised to build thousands of new homes each year if elected and to lobby for powers to introduce a new “Living Rent” to ensure living in the capital remains affordable.