Political Correspondent

THE General Election result is not a foregone conclusion and Labour can defeat the Tories, according to Jeremy Corbyn.

The Labour leader is trailing Theresa May and the Conservatives in the opinion polls with predictions the party is facing its heaviest defeat in several decades.

At Holyrood, Nicola Sturgeon dismissed Labour’s prospects and said Mr Corbyn wasn’t going anywhere near Downing Street.

She said the chances of the Labour leader becoming Prime Minister was “pie in the sky”.

Mr Corbyn however, said that by not playing by the establishment rules Labour can win the election on June 8.

Labour and the Liberal Democrats have their sights set on winning back some of the 50 combined Scottish seats they lost to the SNP in 2015, while the Tories are looking to build on their 2016 Holyrood successes by adding MPs to their tally of one.

South of the border though, Mr Corbyn is facing a battle to hold Labour seats as the Tories look to increase their majority at his expense.

However, he said he can win by playing to his own rules not those of the political, media and business elites.

He attacked financial traders in the City and billionaire businessmen, singling out Philip Green, chairman of retail giants Arcadia Group, who sold BHS for £1 before it went bust and Mike Ashley who owns Sports Direct.

Mr Corbyn said “If I were Southern Rail or Philip Green I’d be worried about a Labour government.”

“If I were Mike Ashley or the CEO of a tax-avoiding multinational corporation, I’d want to see a Tory victory. Labour is the party that will put the interests of the majority first.”

Speaking in London he said if the party does win he won’t be playing by establishment rules when he is in office either.

In his first speech since the election was called, Mr Corbyn said: “We don’t accept that it is natural for Britain to be governed by a ruling elite, the City and the tax dodgers.

“We don’t accept that the British people just have to take what they’re given and that they don’t deserve better.”

Mr Corbyn dismissed the polls and predictions that say the Tories will increase their majority from the 17 won in 2015 by David Cameron before he quit.

He said: “Much of the media and establishment are saying this election is a foregone conclusion.

“They think there are rules in politics, which if you don’t follow by doffing your cap to powerful people, accepting that things can’t really change, then you can’t win.

“But of course those people don’t want us to win. Because when we win, it’s the people, not the powerful, who win.”

He said it was a “rigged system” set up by a “cosy cartel” which he said was “set up by the wealth extractors for the wealth extractors”.

Speaking during First Minister’s Questions at Holyrood Nicola Sturgeon said Labour was “unelectable and utterly useless” in opposition and had no chance of winning on June 8.

The First Minister was accused by Ruth Davidson of seeking an alliance with Labour at Westminster, which she quickly dismissed.

She said: “We only have to take one look at the polls to know that Jeremy Corbyn ain’t going anywhere near number 10 Downing Street—on his own or with the help of anybody else.”

Responding to Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale, who said Ms Sturgeon said: “The idea that in this election Labour will replace the Tories is, frankly, pie in the sky.

“The issue and the threat at this election is that, due to Labour’s complete unelectability, we face an unfettered, out-of-control Tory Government.”

Ms Dugdale accused the SNP of wanting a Tory victory to further the independence argument.

She said: “It suits the SNP for the Tories to stay in power. That is why SNP MPs refused to vote Theresa May out of office yesterday, and every day that the Tories remain in power 430,000 Scots go without a real living wage, Women Against State Pension Inequality go without the pension that they have worked their whole lives for, and young people have their housing benefit stripped away.

“It suits the SNP for the Tories to stay in power, because the only thing that the SNP has ever cared about is independence.”

Ms Sturgeon however said it was SNP MPs who were providing teh real opposition to the Tories at Westminster.

She said: “The only thing standing between an out-of-control, unfettered Tory Government and Scotland is the SNP.

“If the people want to make sure that the Tory Government can be held to account, if they want to make sure that there is a strong focus for Scotland and if they want to make sure that Scotland is protected against exactly the policies that Kezia Dugdale talks about, they must ensure that they send back SNP MPs to Westminster.”