Jeremy Corbyn has declared Labour is “staking out the new centre ground” in British politics and he is leading a “government in waiting”.
In his new year’s message, the Labour leader said the prospect of a “new Britain” was “closer than ever before”.
After a dramatic 2017 which saw Labour defy predictions of a landslide defeat at a general election which instead resulted in Theresa May losing her Commons majority, Mr Corbyn vowed to use 2018 to help people “fulfil their hopes”.
“Ours is a fantastic country full of wonderful, caring and talented people with the hope of a great future ahead of us, where we all share in the wealth we create,” he said.
“But we are being held back by a self-serving elite who look after themselves and their friends, and a failed system which delivers staggering wealth at the top while more and more people struggle to simply make ends meet.”
The 2017 general election showed “the establishment’s secret is out: they’re not as strong as they appear” and have “no idea how to fix their broken system or upgrade our stagnant economy”.
In 2018 “Labour’s mission is to give our people support and security and use their talents, unleash their creativity and fulfil their hopes”.
Mr Corbyn, a veteran of Labour’s left wing, insisted that the party he leads now represents a new centre ground in British politics.
“The old political consensus is finished,” he said. “We are staking out the new centre ground in British politics, backing the things which most people want but are blocked by vested interests.
“We are a government in waiting, while the Conservatives are weak and divided and stuck in an outdated rut with no new ideas. The hope of a new Britain, run in the interests of the many, not the few, is closer than ever before. Together we can, and we will, deliver it.”
Meanwhile, Theresa May said in her new year message the next 12 months will allow Britons to feel “renewed confidence and pride” as the country makes progress on Brexit and creating a “stronger and fairer” society.
The Prime Minister said that although Brexit was “crucial”, it was “not the limit of our ambitions” – highlighting her Government’s approach to schools, the police and the National Health Service as signs that she was focused on issues affecting people’s daily lives.
After a difficult 12 months which saw her decision to call a snap election backfire spectacularly, three scandal-hit Cabinet ministers forced to resign and continued unrest within Tory ranks over Europe, May acknowledged that “any year brings its challenges”.
In her message,May said 2017 had been a “year of progress” for the UK and insisted that the divisions of the European Union referendum were in the past as “most people just want the Government to get on and deliver a good Brexit, and that’s exactly what we are doing”.
In an apparent reference to her own troubles, May said: “Of course any year brings its challenges – that is true for each of us personally, as much as for our country and the world.
“But the real test is not whether challenges come; it’s how you face them.
“Whether you allow a task to overcome you, or tackle it head on with purpose and resolve.”