New Year messages: PM vows 'renewed confidence' in UK as Corbyn attacks 'weak' Govt
31 December 2017, 02:41
Theresa May, Jeremy Corbyn and Sir Vince Cable have released their New Year messages - making their pitches to the electorate following a turbulent 12 months in British politics.
After a year in which she triggered Article 50 and lost the Conservatives' majority in a snap election, the Prime Minister vowed that the Government would spark "renewed confidence and pride in our country" in 2018.
Acknowledging that "any year brings its challenges", Mrs May said she would look to deliver "an economy that's fit for the future and a stronger and fairer society for everyone".
In an attack on Mrs May and the Conservatives, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn described the Government as "weak and divided and stuck in an outdated rut with no new ideas".
The Leader of the Opposition claimed the UK was being "held back by a self-serving elite who look after themselves and their friends", adding June's election showed "the establishment's secret is out, they're not as strong as they appear".
And underlining his credentials for No 10, Mr Corbyn said he led a "government in waiting" which was "staking out the new centre ground" and could herald a "new Britain, run in the interests of the many, not the few".
Meanwhile, Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable said his party "have a lot of people to persuade to get behind us" but could "make 2018 our year".
Renewing his call for a second EU referendum, Sir Vince said his party would "offer the choice of an exit from Brexit" but warned members they still have "a lot of work to do" to win over hearts and minds.
In her New Year message, Mrs May asserted that the Government had made good progress on Brexit after securing an agreement to move on to the second phase of talks.
She said: "Next year we will move on to the vital issues of trade and security, and I am determined that we will keep up our progress in 2018.
"Because whichever way you voted in the referendum, most people just want the Government to get on and deliver a good Brexit, and that's exactly what we are doing.
"Making a success of Brexit is crucial, but it will not be the limit of our ambitions."
In recent days, Mr Corbyn has been forced to deny claims his party's position on Brexit is "confusing", with opposition frontbenchers appearing to contradict each other on the UK's single market and customs union membership.
But the Labour leader opted against addressing the issue in his New Year message, failing to mention Brexit once.