Labour will be voted into power if Prime Minister Theresa May calls a snap general election, Jeremy Corbyn has claimed. The left-wing leader had previously backed repealing the Fixed Term Parliaments Act, which means the next election is scheduled for 2020.
"We are going to go for it and win it," Corbyn declared, during an interview with The Guardian's Owen Jones. But Labour has faced a civil war, with former shadow work and pensions secretary Owen Smith challenging Corbyn for the leadership, and the latest opinion polls showing the Conservatives have a double digit lead over Labour.
A YouGov survey for The Times, of more than 1,600 people between 25 and 26 July, put the Tories on 40% and Labour on 28%. A separate poll from ICM, of more than 2,000 people between 22 and 24 July, put the Conservatives on 43% and Corbyn's party on just 27%.
Corbyn also said he was "deeply disappointed" by the Labour MPs who attempted to dethrone him in the wake of the EU referendum.
The comments come after a string of shadow cabinet ministers resigned from the top team in protest over Corbyn's performance during the campaign and in reaction to his decision to sack Hilary Benn as shadow foreign secretary. More than 170 Labour MPs also backed a motion of 'no confidence' against the veteran parliamentarian.
"I say to colleagues in parliament: think very carefully about this, we have defeated [the Conservatives] on a lot of things and we can continue to do that," Corbyn added.
He also argued that it was "very hard to get a fair hearing" in the media, but explained social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook allowed Labour to directly connect with millions of voters.
The winner of the Labour leadership contest will be announced on 24 September in Liverpool. Corbyn, who won almost 60% of the vote in last year's contest, is expected to retain the top job.