Corbyn speaking at the 'No More War' event in Parliament Square in 2014
|Member of Parliament
for Islington North
9 June 1983
|Preceded by||Michael O'Halloran|
|Born||Jeremy Bernard Corbyn
26 May 1949
Chippenham, England, UK
|Spouse(s)||Jane Chapman (1974–1979)
Claudia Bracchitta (1987–1999)
Laura Alvarez (2015–present)
Jeremy Bernard Corbyn (born 26 May 1949) is a British Labour Party politician who has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Islington North since 1983. A member of the Socialist Campaign Group, the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign, Amnesty International, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and the Stop the War Coalition (of which he has been the national chair since 2001), Corbyn is currently a candidate in the 2015 Labour Party leadership election.
Born in Chippenham, Wiltshire, Corbyn attended Adams' Grammar School and then briefly North London Polytechnic. After a period of time working for the National Union of Public Employees and National Union of Tailors and Garment Workers, he began his political career in 1974 when he was elected to Haringey Council. He continued in that role until his election as the MP for Islington North in 1983, where he was most recently re-elected in 2015.
A self-described democratic socialist, Corbyn has advocated the renationalisation of public utilities and railways, combating corporate tax evasion and avoidance as an alternative to austerity, abolishing university tuition fees and restoring student grants, unilateral nuclear disarmament and cancellation of the Trident nuclear weapons programme, quantitative easing to fund infrastructure and renewable energy projects, and reversing cuts to the public sector and welfare made since 2010 by the government of David Cameron.
Although initially perceived as a fringe candidate in the 2015 leadership contest, Corbyn emerged at the head of the race, becoming the overwhelming leader in many opinion polls and gaining the support of the majority of trade unions affiliated to the Labour Party as well as the support of three non-affiliated trade unions. Corbyn's platform has been criticised as unelectable by some senior Labour figures, including former leaders Neil Kinnock, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. Corbyn's supporters argue that his socialist manifesto and unexpected popularity have expanded grassroots support for the Labour Party, reconnecting it with people who had lost interest in politics, and contend that many of his policies have a mainstream appeal across political divides.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Political career from 1983
- 3 Political views
- 4 2015 Labour leadership candidacy
- 5 Personal life
- 6 Awards
- 7 Notes
- 8 External links
Corbyn was born in Chippenham, Wiltshire, and lived in Kington St Michael. He is the younger brother of weather forecaster Piers Corbyn and the son of David, an electrical engineer and expert in power rectifiers, and Naomi (died 1987), a maths teacher. His parents were peace campaigners who met during the Spanish Civil War. When Jeremy was seven they moved to Shropshire at Pave Lane where Jeremy's father bought the Yew Tree Guesthouse and converted it into a house. Jeremy attended Adams' Grammar School in Newport. While still at school he became active in the Wrekin Constituency Young Socialists and local Labour Party, as well as the League Against Cruel Sports in Shropshire.
After leaving school at 18, he spent two years doing Voluntary Service Overseas in Jamaica before becoming a full-time organiser for the National Union of Public Employees. After briefly studying at North London Polytechnic, he worked as an official with the National Union of Tailors and Garment Workers, became a member of a District health authority and in 1974 was elected to Haringey Council, representing the Harringay ward until 1983. Corbyn worked on Tony Benn's unsuccessful 1981 campaign to become Deputy Leader of the Labour Party and was elected Secretary of the Islington Labour Party.
Political career from 1983
Corbyn was selected as the Labour Party candidate for his local seat of Islington North in 1982. At the 1983 general election he was elected as the Member of Parliament for Islington North and immediately joined the (then) Campaign Group, marking him one of the most left-wing of Labour MPs, and sat on the London Regional Select Committee from 1983 to 1987. Shortly after his election he began writing a weekly column in the Morning Star, which he has continued to do up to the present day. He later 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. Corbyn was re-elected Member of Parliament for Islington North seven times, most recently in 2015, where he gained 60.24% of the vote and a majority of 21,194. Between 1997 and 2010, during the most recent Labour Government, Corbyn was the most rebellious of all Labour MPs, regularly defying three-line whips. In the 2005–2010 Parliament alone he defied the whip 238 times, approximately 25% of all votes.
On 21 September 2001, Corbyn was elected as the National Chair of the Stop the War Coalition, which began to oppose the Afghanistan War later that year. He was fiercely opposed to the Iraq War in 2003, and spoke at dozens of anti-war rallies in Britain and overseas. He took part in a February anti-war protest which was thought to be largest political protest in British history. In 2006, Corbyn was one of 12 Labour MPs to support Plaid Cymru and the Scottish National Party's call for an inquiry into the Iraq War. He is strongly opposed to weapons of mass destruction and a long-time supporter of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, being one of its three vice-chairs.
Corbyn is a member of a number of trade union groups in Parliament. He is sponsored by several trade unions, including Unison, the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers and Unite the Union. He is a committed anti-fascist, having spoken at the major Unite Against Fascism and Trades Union Congress joint anti-British National Party rally in December 2001, and was the keynote speaker at Unite Against Fascism's annual conference in 2007.
Corbyn is 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 advocated for the rights of the forcibly-removed Chagossians to return to the British Indian Ocean Territory and is also a Venezuelan solidarity activist. He is a member of the Bolivia, Britain–Palestine, Great Lakes, Cheese, Dalits, Cycling, International Parliamentary Union and Traveller Law Reform APPGs.
During the 2009 expenses scandal, Corbyn was revealed as claiming one of the lowest amount of expenses of any Member of Parliament. In 2010 he claimed the smallest amount of all 650 MPs; in an interview with the Islington Gazette he said: "I am a parsimonious MP...I think we should claim what we need to run our offices and pay our staff but be careful because it's obviously public money...in a year, rent for the (constituency) office in Finsbury Park is about £12,000 to £14,000." He rents his constituency office from the Ethical Property Company.
Corbyn has campaigned strongly against tuition fees in England, the creation of academies and private finance initiative schemes. He supports the introduction of a living wage, a higher rate of income tax for the wealthiest in society, and an increase in corporation tax to fund public services such as free higher education. In 1990 Corbyn participated in the tax resistance movement against the Community Charge, also known as the "poll tax", for which he faced imprisonment.
Corbyn has been a long-standing supporter of a United Ireland and controversially invited Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams to London in 1984. A second meeting in 1996 was cancelled following pressure from the Labour Party. He has been strongly criticised by Labour and Conservative MPs for holding meetings with former members of the IRA in the Houses of Parliament to discuss topics such as conditions in Northern Irish prisons and the IRA ceasefire. In an interview on Northern Irish radio in August 2015, Corbyn stressed his opposition to "all bombing" and welcomed the ceasefire and peace process, although he did not express a direct opinion about the actions of the IRA specifically.
He was one of sixteen signatories to an open letter to then-Labour Leader Ed Miliband in January 2015 calling for Labour to make a commitment to opposing further austerity, to take rail franchises back into public ownership, and to strengthen collective bargaining arrangements.
In 2013, Corbyn co-signed a letter which was published in The Guardian newspaper that indicated his support for the People's Assembly Against Austerity. He has also been a prominent sponsor of the March for Homes.
Corbyn has been a long-time campaigner on animal rights issues. He was one of the first signatories to Tony Banks' "Pigeon Bombs" Early Day Motion and in 2015 signed a motion calling for a ban on the importation of foie gras into the United Kingdom and sponsored a motion opposing the Yulin Dog Meat Festival. He also sponsored two Early Day Motions relating to the McLibel case.
Corbyn has "unwaveringly" supported LGBT rights, having been the only Labour MP to vote in a favour of a Liberal Democrat amendment to outlaw homophobic discrimination in 1998, before the introduction of the Equality Act. (However, he missed the vote on the repeal of Section 28 in 2003.) He was a signatory of Early Day Motions in 2015 calling on the Russian government to end the anti-gay laws in that country, described as the "persecution of the LGBTQ community", and another demanding the UK government to force the legalisation of same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland following the its legalisation in the rest of the UK; Corbyn voted in favour of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013.
Corbyn has stated his preference for Britain to become a republic, but that he does not believe it to be a major political issue at the present time. In 1991, Corbyn seconded the Commonwealth of Britain Bill brought forward by Tony Benn, which called for the transformation of the United Kingdom into a "democratic, federal and secular Commonwealth of Britain", with an elected President, devolution, abolition of the House of Lords and an equal representation of men and women in Parliament.
Corbyn has said that the NHS should be "completely publicly run and publicly accountable" and is a supporter of the NHS Reinstatement Bill 2015. In 2010, he said on Twitter that he believed homeopathy could work for some people and signed a parliamentary motion introduced by the Conservative MP David Tredinnick calling on the government to consider the experiences of other countries such as India, which backs homeopathy treatment, when formulating health policy.
Corbyn was a well-known campaigner against apartheid in South Africa, serving on the National Executive of the Anti-Apartheid Movement, and was arrested in 1984 for protesting outside South Africa House.
He is a prominent member of Amnesty International, and campaigned for the former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet to be put on trial. Corbyn and fellow MP Robert Kilroy-Silk were reported to have scuffled in the House of Commons Division Lobby over the issue in 1985, but Kilroy-Silk denied reports he punched Corbyn.
In April 2014, he wrote an article for the Morning Star attributing the crisis in Ukraine to NATO. He said that the "root of the crisis" lay in "the US drive to expand eastwards" and described Russia's actions as "not unprovoked". Corbyn told The Guardian in August 2015: "I am not an admirer or supporter of Putin's foreign policy, or of Russian or anybody else’s expansion". He has said it "probably was" a mistake to allow former Warsaw Pact countries to join NATO: "Nato expansion and Russian expansion – one leads to the other, and one reflects the other." Corbyn would like to pull out of NATO.
He is a member of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, regularly campaigning against conflict in Gaza and what the organisation considers to be Apartheid in Israel. Asked in an interview on Channel 4 News in July 2015 why he had called representatives from Hamas and Hezbollah "friends" at a parliamentary meeting, Corbyn explained that he had used the word in a "collective" sense, and does not condone the actions of either organisation. "There is not going to be a peace process unless there is talks involving Israel, Hezbollah and Hamas and I think everyone knows that," he argued.
Corbyn has called for the lifting of sanctions as part of a negotiated full settlement of issues concerning the Iranian nuclear programme, and the starting of a political process to decommission Israel's nuclear weapons.
Corbyn opposes the the replacement of Britain's Trident nuclear weapons system, and supports the creation of a Defence Diversification Agency to assist the transfer of jobs and skills to the civilian sector. He has said that the 11,000 jobs supported by Trident could be replaced by "socially productive" jobs in renewable energy, railways and housing.
In July 2015 Corbyn said that if Prime Minister David Cameron negotiated away workers' rights and environmental protection as part of his renegotiation of Britain's EU membership, he would not rule out advocating a British exit from the EU in the proposed referendum on Britain's membership.
2015 Labour leadership candidacy
Following Labour's defeat in the 2015 general election on 7 May, Ed Miliband resigned as Leader of the Labour Party, triggering a leadership election. On 2 June, it was reported in various media sources that Corbyn was considering standing as a candidate, having been disillusioned by the lack of a perceived left-wing voice. The next day, Corbyn confirmed to his local newspaper, the Islington Tribune, that he would be standing in the election on a "clear anti-austerity platform". Corbyn added: "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."
It was widely predicted that Corbyn would struggle to reach the required threshold of 35 nominations from Labour MPs to enter the contest, but he was able to secure a place on the ballot just minutes before the deadline closed on 15 June. Corbyn secured 36 nominations, one more than was needed to qualify for the contest. Around 12 of the MPs who nominated him actually support other candidates, but "lent" him their support in order to widen the contest. One of them, the former Foreign Secretary, Margaret Beckett, later described herself as a "moron" for nominating Corbyn. Corbyn was reported to say: "We had two minutes to spare, it was easy."
Following a series of televised and radio debates with the other three candidates – Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham, Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper and Shadow Care Minister Liz Kendall – Corbyn went on to gain the support of six of the Labour Party's fourteen affiliated trade unions, including the UK's two largest trade unions, Unite and UNISON, and received the highest number of supporting nominations from Constituency Labour Parties, winning over 100 by the end of July.
On 21 July 2015, a YouGov poll for The Times, sampling the voting intentions of current Labour Party members, projected Corbyn to win the leadership election, with 43% of first preferences and 53% of the final redistributed total. The surge in popularity was reported to have greatly surprised even Corbyn himself. On 11 August, The Times published the results of its second YouGov poll, indicating that Corbyn was on course for a "decisive victory"; it claimed that support for Corbyn had increased further to 57% and that he would therefore win on first preferences. The Guardian reported a Survation poll showing that, after being shown a short video of all four candidates, more voters from both the wider electorate and previous Labour, Liberal Democrat and UK Independence Party (UKIP) voters indicated a preference for Corbyn. On 15 August, The Independent on Sunday reported a ComRes poll it had commissioned of the general public, revealing that if Corbyn were to become Labour Leader, voters believed it would reduce Labour's chances of winning the next election, whilst the election of David Miliband, who was defeated by his brother in 2010, would stand the best chance of Labour winning the next election.
Corbyn's proposed economic policies, referred to as "Corbynomics" by some in the media, are reported to be "heavy influenced" by a blog by Richard Murphy. Corbyn's economic platform has been endorsed by a number of prominent economists, including David Blanchflower, a former member of the Bank of England’s monetary policy committee, and Steve Keen. They were among 41 academics who signed a letter to The Guardian which argued: "The accusation is widely made that Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters have moved to the extreme left on economic policy. But this is not supported by the candidate’s statements or policies. His opposition to austerity is actually mainstream economics, even backed by the conservative IMF.". The Nobel-Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz said he was unsurprised at support for anti-austerity campaigners like Corbyn following the "disappointment" of policies pursued by New Labour. Robert Skidelsky offered a qualified endorsement of Corbyn's proposals to carry out QE through a National Investment Bank.
However, Corbyn's economic proposals have been criticised by the economist John Van Reenen at the London School of Economics, the BBC Economics Editor Robert Peston (who said that "Corbynomics is a kind of collective howl"), The Economist, the free-market Centre for Policy Studies, the Financial Times (although it also complimented the "People's QE" proposal), the Daily Telegraph, Shadow Chancellor Chris Leslie, former Foreign Secretary David Miliband, Shadow Business Secretary Chuka Umunna and the three other leadership candidates.
An initial proposal to find up to £120 billion that Corbyn alleged to be lost through tax avoidance and evasion, by investing £1 billion in HMRC, was strongly criticised by former Labour Leader Ed Miliband's former independent financial adviser, Jolyon Maugham Q.C., who claimed to have found a £100 billion "black hole" in Corbyn's plans. Richard Murphy clarified that the £120 billion figure reflects what he believes is the overall tax gap (which is substantially bigger than the HMRC figure of £34 billion for the overall tax gap). of which Murphy calculates the collectable portion of is up to £20 billion. However, Maugham stated that this lower figure would only be available if a range of very unlikely decisions were to be made by the current Chancellor of the Exchequer, saying that "if this [plan by Corbyn] was a brilliant 'slam dunk' thing to do, it would have been done already". In an interview with CBNC, Murphy said that "This issue is bigger than HMRC can deal with at the moment. Spending up to £300 million on staff could raise £8 billion extra, according to people I speak to at HMRC."
Corbyn also planned to reduce the £93 billion which companies receive in tax reliefs, but has not yet specified which reliefs he would cut. This amount is made up of several reliefs, including railway and energy subsidies, relief on investment and government procurement from the private sector.
In an interview with The Independent on Sunday on 9 August, Corbyn said: "I think we should talk about what the objectives of the party are, whether that’s restoring Clause Four as it was originally written or it’s a different one. But we shouldn’t shy away from public participation, public investment in industry and public control of the railways.” The Independent has cited opinion polls to suggest that many of Corbyn's policies, such as the renationalisation of railways and energy companies, have polled popularly with the general public.
Corbyn claims renationalisation would save money by both joining up a fragmented market, thereby reducing duplication in the privatised rail market (estimated by Ian Taylor as costing up to £1.2 billion in a 2012 report written for trade unions, but the Rail Delivery Group notes this amount includes the cost of leasing trains as well as the cost of Network Rail using private contractors, something which British Rail did as well, thus would be an inaccurate estimate of savings) and keeping what is currently profit for the energy and train operating companies. However, both the energy and the train operating companies claim that they make a low return on their money (3.9% for the energy companies and 3.4% for the train companies) and a City analysis cited by The Guardian and Financial Times newspapers, of the nationalisation policies advocated by Corbyn, indicates a figure of at least £124 billion would be needed to purchase controlling shares in the "Big Six" national energy providers plus the National Grid, a large sum to borrow at a time of high national debt, and £185 billion if he wanted to buy the smaller companies as well. The plan would have to comply with European Union competition law, as while currently several European countries have state-owned passenger railway systems organised to comply with this law, future EU proposals may require states to open up passenger railway markets. Both energy markets and freight railway markets also must have competition and therefore a state-owned company would have to compete with other companies.
Bank of England policy
Corbyn proposes to have the Bank of England create money to invest in housing and public transport, described by Corbyn as "people's quantative easing". This would aim to turn the UK into a high-skill, high-tech economy and to build more council houses in order to lower long-term housing benefit costs. To achieve this, the Bank would purchase bonds for a state-owned "National Investment Bank". This has been criticised as economically illiterate by other candidates and would be seen to increase the risk of investing in the UK, meaning that the government would have to pay higher interest rates on its debt. It would also clash with Article 123 of the EU's Lisbon Treaty which prevents central banks from printing money to finance government spending and could cause a legal battle with the European Court of Justice. The Register wrote that as quantitative easing had the potential to cause inflation, currently the Bank of England holds onto the money it creates and thus has the power to 'unwind QE' by reversing it, whereas if the money had gone into Corbyn's National Investment Bank, this would not be possible.
In August 2015, when asked by Glasgow's Herald newspaper if he would describe himself as a British unionist, Corbyn replied "No, I would describe myself as a socialist. I would prefer the UK to stay together, yes, but I recognise the right of people to take the decision on their own autonomy and independence". He also criticised the decision by Scottish Labour to work with Conservatives in the Better Together campaign, and said that he had not actively participated in the referendum campaign. Corbyn also stated his belief that economic inequality exists across the UK, and that Labour should unite people on the basis of a "radical economic strategy".
Corbyn raised the possibility in August 2015 of introducing women-only carriages on public transport, as well as a 24-hour hotline for women to report cases of harassment. He said that although his aim was to "make public transport safer for everyone from the train platform, to the bus stop to the mode of transport itself", he would consult women on whether such carriages would be welcome, after the idea was suggested to him. Conservative Women's Minister Nicky Morgan said she was "uncomfortable with the idea", which sounded like "segregation".
Corbyn's views on Ukraine, Russia, and NATO were criticised by a number of writers, including Halya Coynash of the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group, Anne Applebaum in The Sunday Times, Ben Judah in The Independent, and Roger Boyes in The Times. Writing for The Daily Telegraph, Edward Lucas saw Corbyn as having a "desire to appease Russia by sacrificing Ukraine" and said that Corbyn's "anti-imperialist sentiments did not stretch to understanding countries such as Ukraine. As the late great Robert Conquest made unanswerably clear, the captive nations of the Soviet empire suffered a level of barbarity and oppression which only the most brutal episodes in European colonial history can match."
Responses to leadership bid
Corbyn's leadership bid has been the subject of fierce discussion within the Labour Party. Former Labour Leader Neil Kinnock, who led the party from 1983 to 1992, called on members to reject Corbyn, asking people to "...make their decision with the greatest possible sincerity and realism". Former Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown said that Labour needed to offer policies that were "credible, radical, sustainable and electable". While not explicitly naming Corbyn, he warned against foreign policy positions that had been advocated by him. Former Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair stated that Labour had "...discovered winning successively...and now re-discovered losing successively...you don't win from a traditional leftist position". He also said that Labour could lose two more elections by electing Corbyn, and that members who felt their heart told them to vote for Corbyn should "get a transplant". Corbyn responded by saying that Blair's comments were "disappointing", and that he should wait for the release of the Chilcot Inquiry into the Iraq War before passing any further comment.
Former Labour Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott criticised Blair's comments, saying that, contrary to what Blair had said, Corbyn's election "would not be a disaster" and that the Labour Party was "about the heart as well as the head". Former Deputy Leader Roy Hattersley said that "MPs have to follow their consciences and if the consciences are different to Corbyn's, that is what they have to follow. If Jeremy Corbyn becomes leader that doesn't give him a mandate to impose his view on the Parliamentary Labour Party. If that means a Parliamentary Labour Party voting in favour of continuing Trident when the Leader of the Labour Party doesn't want it, too bad. The Leader of the Labour Party would be out on his own."
The newly-elected Scottish Labour Leader, Kezia Dugdale, said in August that electing Corbyn as leader would leave the party "carping from the sidelines". She said "So you have to convince me that he can be Prime Minister. Here's a guy that's broken the whip 500 times. So how can the leader of the party enforce discipline with that record?" One of the Corbyn's opponents for the leadership, Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper, said that all Corbyn offered was "old solutions to old problems, not new answers to the problems of today". She also stated that in her view Corbyn lacked economic credibility and would keep Labour out of power. Another candidate, Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham, said "I'm the only one who can beat Jeremy Corbyn...(the alternative would) plunge the party into civil war because you would have Labour colleagues in different lobbies, bad feeling, disunity, bad blood".
Shadow Chancellor Chris Leslie announced in early August that he would refuse to serve in a Shadow Cabinet led by Corbyn, and that Corbyn's "starry-eyed, hard left" plan to end austerity would end up hurting the poor, by leading to higher inflation and interest rates as well as cuts in public spending, and that his economic strategy would keep the Conservatives in power. The General Secretary of the Communication Workers Union (CWU), Dave Ward, said that Blairites in the Labour Party were a "virus" and that Corbyn would provide an "antidote", reconnecting the party with its left-wing roots. The statement by Dave Ward was in turn strongly criticised by former Home Secretary Alan Johnson, himself a former General Secretary of the Union of Communication Workers (UCW), a predecessor of the CWU, who had known Ward for 25 years. He said "I can understand why the 'virus' drivel should emanate from our political opponents, including those in the various far-left sects who last tried to bring their finger-jabbing intolerance into our party 35 years ago. What I'm puzzled by is why it should come from trade union leaders whose members benefited so much under the last Labour Government".
Owen Jones argued in The Guardian that the reason Corbyn was so popular was because he "offers a coherent, inspiring and, crucially, a hopeful vision" addressing social injustice and economic inequality, comparing the surge of support for Corbyn to the popularity of both UKIP in England and the Scottish National Party (SNP) in Scotland. Former Mayor of London Ken Livingstone compared Corbyn to UKIP leader Nigel Farage as an "ordinary guy" who could connect with voters as an "anti-establishment" figure, despite the two coming from opposite ends of the political spectrum.
Association with alleged antisemites
In August 2015, The Jewish Chronicle queried Corbyn's connection with people and organisations accused of antisemitism such as Raed Salah and Paul Eisen of Deir Yassin Remembered. Corbyn rejoined that when he met Salah, he was unaware that he had been convicted of racial incitement and that he had not made antisemitic comments during their conversation about Israel. He also confirmed that he had attended DYR events and made limited cash donations but has "no contact now whatsoever" with the DYR director subsequently exposed as a Holocaust denier. Corbyn described Holocaust denial as "obviously vile" and his office released a statement to say he is "proud to represent a multicultural constituency of people from all over the world and to speak at every opportunity of understanding between Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim and other faiths." The Chronicle described Corbyn's response as unsatisfactory but prominent Jewish critics of Israel defended Corbyn a week later in an open letter to the newspaper.
When asked in a BBC Radio 4 interview on 19 August about his hosting a 2009 Parliamentary meeting which included Dyab Abou Jahjah, the founder of the anti-Zionist group Arab European League, Corbyn said that accusations of him holding racist or antisemitic sympathies were "beyond appalling, disgusting and deeply offensive", adding that "I've spent my life opposing racism. Until my dying day, I'll be opposed to racism in any form."
Of Corbyn's involvement with Salah and DYR, Diane Abbott said that "there will always be people who are less than savoury in liberation movements" and suggested that Corbyn is being smeared by people trying to make him guilty by association ... the British establishment is frozen with fear about the prospect of his victory."
In 1974, Corbyn married Jane Chapman, then a fellow Labour Party councillor in Haringey, who described Corbyn as her "political soulmate"; the couple divorced in 1979. He later married Chilean exile Claudia Bracchita in 1987, with whom he had three sons. Following a disagreement over whether or not to send their son Ben to a grammar school – Corbyn opposes selection at 11 – the couple divorced in 1999, although Corbyn said in June 2015 that he continued to "get on very well" with his ex-wife. Ben was later sent to Queen Elizabeth's School, which was Bracchita's first choice. In 2015, Corbyn married his long-term domestic partner Laura Alvarez, a Mexican who works as an importer of fair trade coffee.
Having described himself as parsimonious in the past, Corbyn told Simon Hattenstone of The Guardian in August 2015: "Well, I don’t spend a lot of money, I lead a very normal life, I ride a bicycle and I don’t have a car." He is teetotal, an Arsenal fan and has been a vegetarian since the age of 20 following a period working on a pig farm.
Other organisational commitments
He is a patron of Centre 404, a service for those with educational disabilities, the Islington Music Forum, the Refugee Therapy Centre. He is also Chair of the Dalit Solidarity Campaign and "Liberation", an anti-racist and anti-imperialist organisation. He is the joint president of the Islington Pensioners Forum, and is a trustee of the Socialist Campaign Group, Hanley Crouch Community Association and the Highbury Vale and Blackstock Trust.
In 2013, Corbyn was awarded the Gandhi International Peace Award for his "consistent efforts over a 30-year Parliamentary career to uphold the Gandhian values of social justice and non‐violence." In the same year, he became a Grassroot Diplomat Initiative honouree for his "ongoing support for a number of non-government organisations and civil causes". Corbyn has won the Parliamentary "Beard of the Year Award" a record five times, as well as the official Beard of the Year, having previously described his beard as "a form of dissent" against New Labour.
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