Jeremy Corbyn will challenge smaller parties to back him as PM in a hung parliament

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Dan Kitwood / Getty

ESSEX, ENGLAND – Jeremy Corbyn will challenge smaller parties to back him to form a government if next week’s general election results in a hung parliament.

A series of polls in the past week have suggested that the election could result in no single party being able to form a majority government.

However, speaking at an event in Essex on Thursday afternoon, Corbyn ruled out going into a formal coalition with other parties such as the SNP or the Liberal Democrats.

“We’re not doing deals. We’re not doing coalitions,” he said in response to questions from journalists, adding that he was “in it to win it.”

Shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry said that Labour would challenge other parties to back their manifesto in a hung parliament.

“If we end up in a position where we are in a minority we will go ahead and we will put forward a Queen’s speech and a budget and if people want to vote for it then good and if they don’t want to vote for it they will have to go back and speak to their constituents and explain ton them why we have a Tory government instead,” she said.

“But if we are the largest party then we go ahead. No deals, with our budget and our Queen’s speech and those are the conversations we’ve had. No deals, that’s it, no deals.”

There were loud boos and shouts of “idiot” from Corbyn’s supporters when the Times journalist Frances Elliott asked whether he would ask Sinn Fein MPs to take their seats in the event of a hung parliament – something they do not currently do.

Thornberry asked the crowd not to jeer, but added that Elliott’s question was “stupid”. Corbyn repeated that he would not do any deals with other parties.

The Labour leader was greeted with a standing ovation by his activists following a series of polls showing the gap rapidly narrowing with the Tories.

Corbyn said he would not comment on polls, but said that he was “looking forward to next Thursday” when the general election is held and suggested that the prime minister “may regret” her decision to call the election.