Jeremy Corbyn wants to use his position as Labour leader to “empower others to make up their minds”, he said on Saturday.
In a speech in Bethnal Green and Bow this morning, the Labour leader made a direct plea to young people to “step up” and register to vote to stop the Conservatives “holding them back”.
The MP of 34 years said: “Whereas insecure leaders want to feel stronger by asking you to give them more power, I recognise strong leadership as equipping you with more power.”
He added: “If party leaders put themselves ahead of serving the people, they stop listening and even put our country at risk.
“Barely nine months into Theresa May’s premiership there are clear warning signs that she and her closest advisors are slipping into that presidential bunker mentality.”
He continued: “I have always believed in standing firm and empowering others to make up their minds and come on board when they’re ready,” adding: “It’s the mindset that serves the many, not the few.”
A new HuffPost UK-Edelman focus group found that men and women from “ordinary working families” in the key seat of Slough liked Labour’s policies on the NHS and pay caps, but said that the presence of Corbyn was the main deterrent to backing the party.
The findings, part of HuffPost UK’s Beyond Brexit series, bring to life recent polls suggesting that Corbyn’s record low ratings are undermining Labour support across the country.
Labour is hoping to secure votes from young people, who currently feel “apathy and resignation” because the voting system favours the Tories.
Corbyn highlighted figures that showed 2.4 million young people are missing from the electoral register. There is a turnout rate of just 40% among 18 to 24 year olds.
He said: “The Conservatives are more than happy with this state of affairs. Apathy and resignation will secure them seats on election day.
“It’s not that our young people don’t have the energy and talent to succeed. Our country is full of potential.
“But something hangs on people’s lips – though it typically goes unspoken. It’s the unheard story of why so many of us are scaling back our hopes and dreams in favour of just getting by.
“It’s the reason why this country is unable to unleash its potential.
“Because as families, communities - entire regions – we are all being held back.
“Don’t let the Conservatives hold you back.
“Don’t let the Conservatives hold Britain back.
“Quite simply, only the Labour Party can deliver a Britain for the many, not the few.”
Corbyn also accused the Tories of preparing to deliver a “Brexit for the few” which will only benefit the super-rich and big corporations.
He said the Tories’ “friends and backers” have a “get out of jail free card” and will benefit from Theresa May’s plans to hand tax cuts to the rich while at the same time she erodes workers’ rights and environmental protections enshrined in EU law.
“Do you think personal prospects of the Conservatives’ friends and backers will suffer following the kind of Brexit they want to see? Do you think their lives will get harder as wages slide and jobs become even less secure?
“Unlikely, I think you’ll agree. And that’s because the Conservatives’ backers can afford to opt out when things go wrong. They’ve been doing it for decades.
“In truth, they always have a get out of jail free card while this Government is at the controls.”
Conservative Party chairman Sir Patrick McLoughlin said there was a “very clear choice on the ballot paper” criticising the “floundering and nonsensical” Opposition leader.