06/02/2016 17:09 GMT | Updated 06/02/2017 05:12 GMT

Jeremy Corbyn Urges Labour To 'Pull Together' Ahead Of May Polls

Jeremy Corbyn has called on Labour to "pull together" to fight elections in England, Wales and Scotland in May as he put an anti-austerity message at the centre of his pitch to voters.

The Labour leader said he would support councils to reverse the "forced privatisation" of local services and accused the Government of inflicting "brutal" cuts.

May's elections will be a crucial test for Mr Corbyn, whose leadership has been the subject of sustained criticism from MPs in his own party opposed to the left-winger's policies.

In an address to Labour's local government conference, Mr Corbyn called for the party to unite and step up its campaigning effort.

The party faces a stiff test in Scotland, where it is in danger of being pushed into third place behind the SNP and Conservatives, while in Wales the party could suffer if Ukip makes expected inroads.

He told activists in Nottingham: "We have important elections in Scotland and Wales, and mayoral elections in London, Bristol, Liverpool and Salford – as well as the EU referendum on the horizon ... In all those ballots, and in local elections across England, we are standing up for people, defending their rights and services, and protecting their communities.

"The party must pull together to take our campaign to every part of the country and I'll be encouraging every Labour MP in Westminster to get out of Westminster, do the campaigning and be involved and to be focused on preventing the Tories devastating our communities and destroying our local services. That is what brought us in to the Labour Party."