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Jeremy Corbyn

British Labour Party politician

Jeremy Bernard Corbyn (born 26 May 1949) is a British politician. He is the Leader of the Labour Party and Leader of the Opposition.[1] He has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Islington North since 1983. He was elected Leader of the Labour Party in 2015.[2] Corbyn calls himself a democratic socialist.[3]

The Right Honourable
Jeremy Corbyn
MP
Official portrait of Jeremy Corbyn crop 2.jpg
Leader of the Opposition
Assumed office
12 September 2015
Monarch Elizabeth II
Prime Minister David Cameron
Theresa May
Preceded by Harriet Harman
Leader of the Labour Party
Assumed office
12 September 2015
Deputy Tom Watson
Preceded by Ed Miliband
Chair of the Stop the War Coalition
In office
14 June 2011 – 12 September 2015
President Tony Benn (2011–2014)
Preceded by Andrew Murray
Succeeded by Andrew Murray
Member of Parliament
for Islington North
Assumed office
9 June 1983
Preceded by Michael O'Halloran
Majority 33,215 (60.5%)
Personal details
Born Jeremy Bernard Corbyn
26 May 1949 (1949-05-26) (age 68)
Chippenham, England, U.K.
Political party Labour
Spouse(s) Jane Chapman (m. 1974; div. 1979)
Claudia Bracchitta (m. 1987; div. 1999)
Laura Álvarez (m. 2013)
Children 3 sons
Residence Finsbury Park, North London, England, U.K.
Alma mater University of North London
Website Official website

Corbyn was born in Chippenham in Wiltshire.[4] Before becoming a politician, he worked as a representative for many trade unions. He was elected to Haringey Council in 1974.[5] He was later secretary of the Islington Constituency Labour Party (CLP).[1] He entered the House of Commons as an MP.[1]

Corbyn won many awards for his work as an international human rights activist.[6] As an MP, he is known for his activism and for voting against the Labour whip when the party was in government under New Labour leaders Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.[7] Corbyn works in support of the anti-austerity movement and stopping austerity cuts to public sector and welfare funding made since 2010.[6]

During his career, he has worked to stop big businesses and very rich people avoiding tax.[8] He has been an anti-war and anti-nuclear activist.[8] Corbyn supports a foreign policy of military non-interventionism and a unilateral policy of nuclear disarmament. This means he wants all countries to stop building nuclear weapons.[8] Corbyn is a member of the Socialist Campaign Group, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Amnesty International and the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND).[8] He was the national chair of the Stop the War Coalition from June 2011 until September 2015.[9]

After Labour's defeat in the 2015 general election and the resignation of Ed Miliband, Corbyn announced his candidacy for the leadership of the Labour Party on 6 June 2015.[10] Although many people did not believe he would win,[11][12] he won enough votes to become the lead candidate. He won many votes from trade unions who supported the Labour Party, as well as left wing activists.[10][13] He was elected Leader of the Labour Party on 12 September 2015 after winning 59.5% of the votes in the first round of the ballot.[14]

In June 2016, after the events of the "leave" vote in the EU referendum, Labour MPs passed a vote of no confidence in Corbyn. It passed by 172 votes to 40 following the resignation of around two-thirds of Corbyn's Shadow cabinet.[15] He then faced a second leadership contest, against Angela Eagle and Owen Smith. However, in July 2016, Eagle dropped out of the race leaving Smith and Corbyn as the only candidates.[16] On 24 September 2016, Corbyn won the leadership contest against Smith with an increased majority of 61.8%.[17]

After the 2017 United Kingdom general election was announced and with his support, Corbyn said he is ready to offer a "real alternative" to the Conservative government.[18] In the election, the Labour Party gained 32 seats, however, the Conservatives remaind the largest Party.

Contents

Early lifeEdit

Corbyn was born in Chippenham, Wiltshire.[19] He was raised in Kington St Michael in Wiltshire.[4] The youngest of four sons, he is the brother of Piers Corbyn.[20] His mother, Naomi Josling, was a math teacher.[21] His father, David Benjamin Corbyn was an electrical engineer.[21] His parents were peace activists.[21] When Corbyn was seven, the family moved to Pave Lane in Shropshire, where his father bought Yew Tree Manor (renamed Yew Tree Guesthouse),[22] turning it into a family home.[4]

Corbyn studied at the Castle House Preparatory School near Newport, Shropshire.[23] He then went to Adams' Grammar School.[23] In school, Corbyn said that he received bad grades and his teacher told him that he was never going to make anything of himself.[24] Corbyn worked as a reporter for a short time for local newspaper, the Newport and Market Drayton Advertiser.[25] He went to the University of North London for a year before dropping out without an educational degree.[23]

Early careerEdit

At around the age of 19, Corbyn spent two years volunteering in Jamaica as a geography teacher.[26]

Corbyn worked as an union official of the National Union of Tailors and Garment Workers.[27] He became a member of a district health authority in the early years of the 1970s.[28] In 1974, he was elected to Haringey Council, representing Harringay as councillor until 1983.[29] Corbyn worked on Tony Benn's deputy leadership campaign in 1981.[29]

Parliamentary career, 1983–presentEdit

Corbyn was chosen as the Labour Party candidate for his local seat in Islington North in 1982. Around this time, he became involved with London Labour Briefing, where he was a contributor and member of the editorial board during the 1980s. It has been reported that he served as its general secretary for some time.[30]

 
Corbyn being interviewed outside the Palace of Westminster, September 2013

In 1983, he was elected Member of Parliament for Islington North. After winning, he joined the Socialist Campaign Group.[31] He sat on the Parliamentary London Regional Select Committee from 1983 to 1987. He sat on the Social Security Select Committee from 1992 to 1997, the London Regional Select Committee for a second time from 2009 to 2010, and the Justice Select Committee from 2010 to 2015.[32]

 
Corbyn's official MP portrait in 2015

Corbyn has won re-elections as Member of Parliament for Islington North seven times. In the 2015 election, when he won 60.24% of the votes cast and a majority of 21,194.[33] During his career, he voted against the whip 428 times while Labour was in power.[34]

In 1990, Corbyn almost went to jail for not paying his taxes as protest to a new tax system in Scotland.[35]

In October 2001, Corbyn was elected to the steering committee of the Stop the War Coalition, which was formed to oppose the Afghanistan War which started later that year. He helped organise the February anti-Iraq War protest which was claimed to be the largest such protest in British political history.[36] In 2006, Corbyn was one of 12 Labour MPs to support Plaid Cymru and the Scottish National Party's call for a parliamentary inquiry into the Iraq War.[37] He was elected chair of the coalition in succession to Andrew Murray in September 2011, but resigned in September 2015.[38]

Corbyn has always opposed weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and is a long-time supporter of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND). He was criticized for inviting Gerry Adams and other members of Sinn Féin to the Palace of Westminster in 1984, weeks after the Brighton hotel bombing by the PIRA.[39]

Corbyn was chair of the All-party parliamentary group (APPG) on the Chagos Islands, chair of the APPG on Mexico, Vice-Chair of the APPG on Latin America and vice-chair of the APPG on human rights. He has supported the rights for the Chagossians. He is known for his Venezuelan solidarity activism.[40]

Leadership of the Labour Party, 2015–presentEdit

Leadership electionEdit

See also: Jeremy Corbyn Labour Party leadership campaign, 2015
 
Corbyn at a leadership campaign rally, July 2015

Following the Labour Party's defeat at the general election on 7 May 2015, Ed Miliband resigned as its party leader. His resignation caused the party to have a leadership election.[41]

On 2 June, it was reported in media sources that Corbyn was thinking of applying to be a candidate. The next day, Corbyn announced to his local newspaper, The Islington Tribune, that he would become a candidate in the election.[5] Before he could become a candidate he had to secure at least 35 nominations from MPs. In the end he got 36.[42] Some of the MPs who nominated him didn't think he would win and only nominated him to have a 'broader debate'.[43]

Some, including former foreign secretary Margaret Becket, told journalists they regretted the decision. When he was accepted as a candidate Corbyn said: "This decision is in response to an overwhelming call by Labour Party members who want to see a broader range of candidates and a thorough debate about the future of the party. I am standing to give Labour Party members a voice in this debate".[44] He would run against candidates Yvette Cooper, Andy Burnham and Liz Kendall.[45]

Corbyn was elected party leader in a landslide victory on 12 September 2015 with 59.5% of first-preference votes in the first round of voting.[46] It has been said that Corbyn would have won in the first round with 51% of votes.[47][48] Corbyn's 40.5% majority was larger than that won by Tony Blair in 1994.[49][50]

Leader of the OppositionEdit

After being elected leader on 12 September 2015, Corbyn became Leader of the Official Opposition.[51] On 14 September 2015, his seat in the Privy Council was announced.[1][52][53][54] During his time as leader, Corbyn wanted to stop the "theatrical" nature of the House of Commons. His first months as leader was called as "a good start" and a "long overdue" change by The Guardian.[55] He made his first annual address as leader on 29 September 2015.[56] As Leader of the Opposition, he was made a member of the Privy Council on 11 November 2015.[57]

In June 2017, Corbyn made an appearance at the 2017 Glastonbury Festival, where he addressed the crowd. The crowd chanted "Oh, Jeremy Corbyn" and sang to the tune of a song by The White Stripes.[58] Corbyn talked about the importance of young people going out and vote.[58]

Military intervention in SyriaEdit

 
Corbyn meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama in London, April 2016

After members of ISIS carried out terrorist attacks in Paris in November 2015, Corbyn said that the only way to deal with the threat by ISIS would be to reach a political settlement and ending the Syrian Civil War.[59] Corbyn voted against military power and airstrikes on ISIS.[60]

EU referendum results and cabinet resignationsEdit

In June 2016, Corbyn said he supported the United Kingdom staying in the European Union.[61] After the United Kingdom voted on leaving the European Union, many Labour leaders wanted Corbyn to resign.[62]

After the referendum, many members of Corbyn's Shadow cabinet resigned because they did not like Corbyn's leadership.[15] Hilary Benn called Corbyn to tell him that he had "lost confidence" in his leadership.[63] Corbyn later asked for his resignation from the Shadow Cabinet on 26 June. Heidi Alexander resigned from the Shadow Cabinet hours later, followed by Gloria de Piero, Ian Murray,[64][65] Lilian Greenwood, Lucy Powell, Kerry McCarthy, Seema Malhotra, Vernon Coaker, Charlie Falconer, and Chris Bryant.[66] Other Shadow Cabinet Ministers, including John McDonnell, Andy Burnham, Diane Abbott, Jon Trickett, Angela Smith, Emily Thornberry and Lord Bassam of Brighton have either supported Corbyn's leadership directly or have said that it was not a good time for a "rebellion".[67] By mid-afternoon 27 June 2016, 23 of the 31 shadow cabinet members had resigned their roles as did seven parliamentary private secretaries.[67]

Leadership crisisEdit

 
Owen Smith ran against Corbyn for the Leadership of the Labour Party. Smith lost the race to Corbyn with 38% of the vote to Corbyn's 62%.[17]

On 28 June 2016, he lost the vote of confidence by Labour Party MPs by 172–40.[15] He said with a statement that the motion had no "constitutional legitimacy" and that he intended to continue as the elected leader.

A YouGov poll of Labour party members found that about 50% expected to support Corbyn if a leadership ballot was called.[68] London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who did not take a side in the dispute, said "When Labour splits, when we're divided, we lose elections".[69] The division between Corbyn and the Labour parliamentary party continued.[70]

On 11 July 2016, Angela Eagle announced her candidacy to run against Corbyn in the upcoming 2016 Labour Party leadership election.[71] On 13 July former shadow minister Owen Smith also announced his leadership challenge.[16] On the 19 July, Eagle quit the race after Smith got 90 nominations to her 70.[72] Eagle said she resigned 'in the best interests of the party.'[72] This was because having two anti Corbyn candidates in the race could split the vote and give him a better chance of winning.[73]

On 24 September 2016, following the leadership contest, Corbyn was re-elected as the leader of the party again with an increased majority of 61.8%.[17]

Response to the Chilcot reportEdit

The Chilcot report of the Iraq Inquiry was issued on 6 July 2016. It criticized the former Labour PM Tony Blair for joining the United States in the war against Iraq. Corbyn was against the war in Iraq.[74] In response, Corbyn apologized to the people of Iraq, families of British soldiers who died and to the British people.[75]

Donald TrumpEdit

After the election of Donald Trump in the 2016 United States presidential elections, Corbyn said that he believes that Trump is not solving problems, but dividing the United States.[76] Corbyn also said he supports the idea for Trump to be banned from visiting the United Kingdom over his executive order on banning visitors from certain majority-Muslim countries from entering the United States.[77]

General election, 2017Edit

 
Corbyn speaking at the Labour Party 2017 General Election launch, May 2017

Corbyn said he supported Prime Minister Theresa May's idea for an early general election while awaiting parliamentary approval.[78] He said he would urge his party to support the government's move in the parliamentary vote announced for on 19 April. A 23 majority of MPs is necessary for a general election to be called before 2020.[79]

Many people supported Corbyn to become Prime Minister such as United States senator Bernie Sanders, who Corbyn supported when Sanders ran for President of the United States.[80]

In the snap general election, Labour under Corbyn gained 32 seats and increased its share of the popular vote to 40%, though the Conservative Party remained in government.[81]

After the 2017 general electionEdit

After the 2017 election, a poll put Labour on 45% with the Conservatives on 39%, the first poll to show Labour ahead with Corbyn as leader.[81] 4% more voters approve of Corbyn than disapprove.[82] Corbyn announced that the party was being placed on "permanent campaign mode",[83] hoping for another general election to be called as soon as fall 2017.[84] He began a number of rallies in important seats, including Hastings and Rye, Southampton Itchen and Bournemouth West.[85]

Personal lifeEdit

In 1974, Corbyn married Jane Chapman.[86] They divorced in 1979.[87] In 1987, Corbyn married Chilean-born Claudia Bracchitta.[88] They had three sons. They divorced in 1999. Corbyn said in June 2015 that he continues to "get on very well" with his former wife.[89] In 2013, Corbyn married Laura Álvarez.[90] He lives in Finsbury Park in London.[91]

In an interview by The Huffington Post in December 2015, Corbyn did not want to say what his religion was, saying that they were a "private thing", while saying that he was not an atheist.[92]

Cultural impactEdit

In January 2016 it was announced that a satirical musical based on Corbyn's life would be staged at the Waterloo East Theatre in London later in the year. BBC News suggested that Corbyn the Musical: The Motorcycle Diaries "may be the first stage show written about a leader of the opposition".[93]

Political viewsEdit

 
Corbyn speaking at anti-war event, April 2013

Corbyn has been against Private Finance Initiative (PFI) and supported a higher rate of income tax for the richest in society.[94] He wants to stop tax evasion by adding £1 billion in HM Revenue and Customs.[95]

Corbyn has said that the National Health Service (NHS) should be "completely publicly run and publicly accountable".[96] He is a supporter of the NHS Reinstatement Bill 2015.[97] Corbyn does not support the Private Finance Initiative.[98]

Corbyn did not support sending British troops to retake the Falkland Islands.[99] He called it a "nauseating waste of lives and money".[100]

Corbyn has supported same-sex marriage and LGBT rights.[101] Corbyn voted in favour of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013, that allowed same-sex marriage in England and Wales.[102] He has been a longtime environmentalist and does not support hydraulic fracturing.[103][104] Corbyn is a supporter of animal rights.[105] He also supports re-nationilization of the UK's train system, meaning they will be owned and run by the government and not by profit making businesses.[106]

More readingEdit

  • Gilbert, W Stephen, Jeremy Corbyn – Accidental Hero. London: Eyeware Publishing Ltd (Squint Books series), 2015. ISBN 978-1-908998-89-7.
  • Nigel Cawthorne, Jeremy Corbyn: Leading from the Left. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2015 ISBN 978-1516971893

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