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Jeremy Corbyn on children's centre closures, targeting Norwich and when he wants a general election

PUBLISHED: 13:14 07 September 2019 | UPDATED: 16:51 07 September 2019

Jeremy Corbyn visits Norwich
Byline: Sonya Duncan
Copyright: Archant 2019

Jeremy Corbyn visits Norwich Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2019

Archant 2019

The leader of the Labour party has told supporters he is "utterly determined" to win Norwich North after making it a key election target.

Jeremy Corbyn visits Norwich
Byline: Sonya Duncan
Copyright: Archant 2019Jeremy Corbyn visits Norwich Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2019

As the country looks more and more likely to be heading for a general election, Jeremy Corbyn addressed more than 100 party activists in the constituency as he ramped up campaign preparations.

Sprowston Methodist Church's main hall was full to overflowing as the Labour leader visited in support of prospective parliamentary candidate Karen Davis.

And it was here that he laid out the conditions under which he will back prime minister Boris Johnson's calls for the country to head to the polls yet again.

He said: "Once the act to block a no deal Brexit receives royal assent and we get a clear statement from the prime minister that he will abide by the law [we will support an election]. We are not going to give him [Mr Johnson] a blank cheque."

Jeremy Corbyn visits Norwich
Byline: Sonya Duncan
Copyright: Archant 2019Jeremy Corbyn visits Norwich Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2019

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With the possibility of an election looming, Mr Corbyn said the Norwich North seat was one of a number of marginal seats the party would be campaigning hard for.

Current Norwich North MP Chloe Smith saw her majority dwindle from 4,463 to 507 in 2017, making the seat a prime target for the opposition.

Mr Corbyn was visiting the city area for the first time since October 2018, when he spoke against closures of children's centres; a topic he again addressed, saying he would "absolutely" want to invest more money in them.

Jeremy Corbyn visits Norwich
Byline: Sonya Duncan
Copyright: Archant 2019Jeremy Corbyn visits Norwich Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2019

He said: "We want to establish a principle of a national education service and invest particularly in early years education.

"The cuts of children's centres affect the whole of the county; poverty is not restricted by city lines, it exists all around."

While Mr Corbyn made it known Norwich North was a seat in his party's cross hairs, he would not drawn specifically on one seat that is guaranteed a new MP - following Norman Lamb's vow not to stand in the next election - whenever that may be,

Ask if he saw Mr Lamb's move as a specific opportunity, he said: "We will campaign everywhere and our candidates will be campaigning hard everywhere."

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