Jeremy Corbyn

Jeremy's answers to your questions

1.       How do you plan to get young members more involved in the Labour Party?

Our party needs to become a social movement again - with campaigning at its heart. To many younger members meetings consisting of minutes, reports and internal business can be a bit turgid - they are to me too. We must inspire people - to get involved and stay involved and we must organise ourselves to ensure that is the case. Internally, Young Labour must have its own democratic structures - and be able to propose policy in areas affecting young people. Young Labour members don't just have the energy for full days on the doorstep, they have fresh ideas and a distinct perspective that need to be heard and debated. In a fast-moving world, we cannot go back to some mythical past in which we set policy only once a year at annual conference. I want our Party to be at the cutting edge of engaging younger, and in fact all, members in setting the direction of our party. On demonstrations for free education, for peace and against austerity, I see thousands of young activists - and I want them to know that the Labour Party is their natural home.

 2.       What is your strategy to press the Government to allow 16 and 17- year-olds to vote in the European Referendum?

 I strongly support 16 and 17 year olds being able to vote in the referendum. The Labour shadow cabinet is pushing the government hard on this, but the parliamentary arithmetic is simply not there no matter how many amendments we table. This campaign has to be won outside Parliament by young people getting organised and lobbying their MPs relentlessly. This is why our party has to become a social movement again. As someone who has spent 32 years in Parliament I can say with some authority that you cannot outsource your politics to Parliament. Most often, change happens outside and forces Parliament to catch up.

3.       How can Labour get more women and young people, as well as BAME, disabled and LGBT members to stand for selection as candidates?

Parliament must reflect the people it serves in terms of gender, ethnicity, disability, LGBT and class. Is it any wonder that people feel disconnected from politics when Parliament doesn't reflect the population? I am lucky that I have worked locally alongside some excellent neighbouring Labour MPs who have represented Labour and my part of north London in all its diversity - MPs like Chris (now Lord) Smith, Diane Abbott, Catherine West, Emily Thornberry, Bernie Grant and David Lammy. At the last election there were several excellent new MPs were elected - and their experiences of the selection process should be shared. I support women-only shortlists, without which some of the very talented women in our Parliament might not be there. However the fact we still need to have women-only shortlists demonstrates that there is still a need to challenge sexist or prejudiced attitudes within our party, just as there is in society at large. We all, each and every member, has an obligation to challenge attitudes and practices that are not necessarily bigoted or motivate by bigotry, but that can still be discriminatory through stereotyping or excluding certain groups of people. 

4.       Do you support an equal minimum wage for young people?

Yes. Young people don't get youth discounts when they buy things in the shops or when they pay their rents. Their costs of living are the same. They should get the same rate for the same job. If we suggested lower pay on the basis of any other equality characteristic we would rightly be up in arms. I would also ensure that young unemployed people received the same rate of unemployment benefit and entitlement to housing benefit as older workers who find themselves without work.

 5.       How can Labour get more young people involved in politics and increase electoral turnout amongst young people?

Some politicians have calculated that because young people are less likely to vote that there is no point in offering decent policies for young people, and so young people's services and benefits have been hit hard by this Government's austerity policies. This generation of young people appears to be as political as any in my lifetime, but too often they look at Westminster politics and feel it is at best an obstacle. The levels of youth unemployment, exploitation in the workplace (e.g. through unpaid internships and low grade apprenticeships, zero hours contracts and low pay) and youth homelessness are a national disgrace. It is up to our party to offer young people hope through real policy solutions to the problems they face. There is a responsibility on us to inspire young people into joining our movement to fight for a better world.

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