Labour's deputy leader Tom Watson has said Jeremy Corbyn must improve his poll results if the party is to regain power at the next election.

Tom Watson, MP for West Bromwich East, said the Labour Party faced a "tough" 18 months, but must now win back support of the country to tackle issues such as social inequality.

He added that second challenge of Corbyn's leadership was detrimental to the party, but said the Islington MP's position was now fixed for the remainder of this session of parliament and he must fight to win voters back.

Appearing on the BBC's The Andrew Marr Show on Sunday (12 February), Watson said: "Look, we've had a tough 18 months, we had a damaging second leadership election so we've got an up-hill battle ahead – the polls aren't great for us – but I'm determined now we've got the leadership settled for the parliament that we can focus on developing a very positive clear message to the British people in a general election."

He added: "We can certainly win a general election. There's a lot work to do. We need to make sure we address the concerns of the British people in a manifesto and that we communicate our message far more clearly that we have been doing, but yes there is nothing to say that Labour can't win a general election."

Addressing questions about Labour's deficit in the polls to the Conservatives, by roughly 14 points in most surveys, Watson said: "If you want to win a general election, you've got to be leading the polls. And to lead the polls, you've got to have policies that people believe in and believe you can deliver on and that's a very big challenge for us."

Watson insisted that the foundations that brought the party together at its formation were still relevant now, despite the "existential crisis" within the party over Labour's stance on Brexit and immigration.

"I do still think people need a Labour Party," Watson said. "If you look at the values that underpin the Labour Party – the idea of the empowering state, that we want to reduce inequality, we want to give greater opportunity to everyone, not just the few – those values are still enduring.

"And you know we've been here before when the middle-class and the working-class people of Britain have been in alliance with each other… I think it's very possible to have a manifesto that addresses the aspirations of both sets of voters."