Jeremy Corbyn: 'UK should welcome immigration opportunities'

Jeremy Corbyn Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Jeremy Corbyn says he is looking forward to the fight to win back the South East

Less than two weeks since he was elected to lead the Labour Party with a huge majority, Jeremy Corbyn is preparing for his first conference as leader in Brighton.

He's also having to get used to the media and laying out his policies - many of which are quite distinct from the previous leader's.

Mr Corbyn has been highly critical of the government's response to the Calais migrant crisis and says the UK must do more.

He told me: "These are human beings, these are people in desperate situations - they need our help and they need our support.

"There's a very large number of people going over to Calais to take aid and support to them - we should be part of the European programme both for Syrian refugees and other refugees."

His views on immigration are completely at odds with those of the UK Independence Party - whose leader Nigel Farage addressed his annual conference in Doncaster on the issue today.

He questioned how any government could plan for school provision, for health provision if you don't know in a couple of years time - to the nearest million - how many people would actually be living in the country.

'Amazing cosmopolitan society'

And the Kent Conservative MP and former immigration minister Damian Green also says open-door immigration would be irresponsible.

But Mr Corbyn insists that immigration is positive for the UK.

"Our health service, our education service, much of our industrial development in Britain, has been greatly enhanced by the work done by people who have made their homes here, paid their taxes here, worked very hard here and given us this amazing cosmopolitan society that we have."

He said instead of being afraid of immigration people should welcome the opportunities it brings.

No doubt that's a message he'll want to get across to the troops as they meet in Brighton this weekend.

He'll also want to address other key issues such as the housing shortage, investment in infrastructure and his opposition to benefits reform.

On top of all that he'll want to prove that he can reach out - not only to Labour members who elected him - but also to those supporters in the South East who abandoned his party at the last two elections.

Mr Corbyn knows it's an uphill struggle but he told me Labour are ready to win back in the South East and he's looking forward to that struggle.

The Labour conference is being held in Brighton between 27 and 30 September.