Jeremy Corbyn attacked the Tories as the “party of the rich, for the rich” as he addressed an enthusiastic eve-of-conference rally.
As the party faithful gathered in Brighton, England Mr Corbyn used the open-air rally speech to claim that his “movement for social change” was an antidote to the “nasty individualism” of the Margaret Thatcher era.
The British Labour leader set out how he hopes to harness his grassroots support to change the party and ultimately put him in Downing Street.
Addressing a crowd that chanted “Oh Jeremy Corbyn”, dotted with European Union banners, a sign saying “boycotting Israel is not anti-Semitic” and another encouraging the purchase of Bitcoins, Mr Corbyn tore into the Tory party’s “meanness, nastiness and austerity-led politics”.
“We showed we have the strength outside Parliament to change things,” he said.
“We showed what the Tories were really about – a party of the rich, for the rich, by the rich delivering for the rich.”
Attacking the £1 billion deal Theresa May struck for DUP support in the Commons, he said: “The priority for the Tories is staying in office at all costs.”
Mr Corbyn claimed “our party plus our movement for social change” could create “a society that generally cares for all rather than the arid, nasty individualism that we inherited from the Thatcher era”.
Ahead of the conference Mr Corbyn’s supporters secured an important victory in Labour’s ruling National Executive Committee (NEC) over changes to the leadership election rules, and authorised the review of party democracy which the leader believes will be transformative.
In changes expected to be endorsed by the national conference, the NEC agreed to a proposal to cut the number of nominations a candidate needs to run from 15% to 10% of the party’s MPs and MEPs.
The change is expected to make it easier for a left-wing candidate to secure a place on the ballot paper when 68-year-old Mr Corbyn finally steps down.
In a further strengthening of the left’s position, the party also increased the number of NEC delegates from members and unions as well as authorising the democracy review.
Before the rally, at Labour’s women’s conference, Mr Corbyn said he wanted a “more open, more democratic party” with the “widest possible participation”.
He said: “Wide participation in policy making leads to more support for the policies we get, leads us to that movement that will bring about the end of this government but – beyond that – the end of the system of inequality and injustice in our society.”
Mr Corbyn condemned the “unbelievable and disgusting” abuse targeted at women Labour MPs including Luciana Berger and shadow home secretary Diane Abbott.
In a message to some Labour supporters who have engaged in vitriolic attacks at women MPs from other wings of the party, he said: “All women who represent our party deserve our unqualified support.”
Meanwhile, shadow women and equalities minister Dawn Butler launched a “period poverty campaign” with a promise to provide funding for free sanitary products for secondary schools, foodbanks and homeless shelters.