Jeremy Corbyn

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Jeremy Corbyn
MP
Jeremy Corbyn No More War crop.jpg
Corbyn speaking at the 'No More War' event in Parliament Square in 2014
Member of Parliament
for Islington North
Incumbent
Assumed office
9 June 1983
Preceded by Michael O'Halloran
Majority 21,194 (43.0%)
Personal details
Born Jeremy Bernard Corbyn
(1949-05-26) 26 May 1949 (age 66)
Chippenham, England, UK
Political party Labour
Spouse(s)
  • Jane Chapman (1974–1979)
  • Claudia Bracchitta (1987–1999)
  • Laura Alvarez (2015–present)
Children 3
Website Official website

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.[1] A member of the Socialist Campaign Group, the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign, Amnesty International, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and the Stop the War Coalition, he is a candidate in the 2015 Labour Party leadership election.[2]

Early life[edit]

Corbyn was born in Chippenham, Wiltshire, the younger brother of weather forecaster Piers Corbyn and the son of David, an electrical engineer and expert in power rectifiers, and Naomi, a maths teacher. His parents were peace campaigners who met during the Spanish Civil War.[3] He attended Adams' Grammar School in Newport, 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.[4] 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 public health authority and in 1974 was elected to Haringey Council, where he served for a decade.[3][5] 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.

Member of Parliament[edit]

Corbyn was selected as the Labour Party candidate for his local seat of Islington North in 1982. In 1983 he was elected as the Member of Parliament for Islington North and immediately joined the Socialist Campaign Group, marking him out as one of the more left-wing 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.[6]

Political views[edit]

Corbyn is a self-described socialist and anti-poverty campaigner. He has campaigned strongly against tuition fees in England, the creation of academies and private finance initiative schemes. He supports the renationalisation of railways, 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. Corbyn has stated his preference for Britain to become a republic, but that he recognises that is not a major political issue at the present time.[7] 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.[8]

Corbyn speaking at the People's Assembly Demonstration in 2014

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.[7] He is a member of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, regularly campaigning against conflict in Gaza and what he regards as Apartheid in Israel.[9] 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.[10][11][12] He has been strongly criticised by Labour and Conservative MPs for holding meetings with members of the IRA in the Houses of Parliament to discuss topics such as conditions in Northern Irish prisons and the IRA ceasefire.[13][14]

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.[15][16] He is also a Venezuelan solidarity activist and has advocated for the rights of the forcibly-removed Chagossians to return to the British Indian Ocean Territory.[17]

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 was a sponsor of a motion opposing the Yulin Dog Meat Festival.[18][19][20] He also sponsored two Early Day Motions relating to the McLibel case.[21]

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.[22] He has also been a prominent sponsor of the March for Homes.[23] In 2013, Corbyn attended a conference calling for dialogue between the UK and Argentine Governments on the question of Falkland Island sovereignty. In April 2014, he wrote an article supporting Russia's positions on NATO and the crisis in Ukraine, which began with the Euromaidan. He asserted that the "root of the crisis" lay in "the US drive to expand eastwards" and described Russia's actions as "not unprovoked".[24]

Corbyn has received funding from the Palestinian linked British charity Interpal, he also funded a trip to Britain for Raed Salah of the Israeli Islamic Movement, and supports Hezbollah.[25]

Rebellion[edit]

During the most recent Labour Government, between 1997 and 2010, Corbyn was the most rebellious Labour MP, regularly defying three-line whips. In the 2005–2010 Parliament alone he defied the whip 238 times, approximately 25% of all votes.[26] He was one of sixteen signatories to an open letter to 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.[27]

Expenses[edit]

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."[28] He rents his constituency office from the Ethical Property Company.

Political organisations[edit]

Corbyn speaking at an ATOS Demo in Parliament Square in 2012

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 is also a Member of the Bolivia, Britain-Palestine, Great Lakes, Cheese, Dalits, Cycling, International Parliamentary Union and Traveller Law Reform APPGs. He is a patron of Centre 404, a service for those with educational disabilities, the Islington Music Forum, the Refugee Therapy Centre and the Palestine Solidarity Campaign. 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.[5]

As a long-standing trade unionist, 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.

Stop the War Coalition[edit]

On 21 September 2001, Corbyn was elected as the National Chair of the Stop the War Coalition, and helped to mobilise opposition to 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. On 15 February 2003 he played a key role in organising what is widely regarded as the biggest political protest event in British history, when over one million people marched against the Iraq War. 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.[29] 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.

2015 Labour leadership bid[edit]

Corbyn speaking at the Tolpuddle Martyrs' Festival and Rally in 2015

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".[30]

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.[31] 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 the UK's two largest trade unions, Unite and UNISON,[32][33] and received the highest number of supporting nominations from Constituency Labour Parties, winning over 100 by the end of July.[34] A YouGov poll of Labour Party members subsequently projected him to win the contest, with 43% of first preferences and 53% of the final redistributed total.[35] The surge in popularity was reported to have greatly surprised even Corbyn himself.[36]

Corbyn's leadership bid has been the subject of fierce debate within the Labour Party. Former Prime Minister Tony Blair stated publicly that Labour would lose an election if they moved to the left, and that Labour Party members who felt their heart told them to vote for Corbyn should "get a transplant".[37] 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.[38] Former 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".[39] The Independent stated that many of Corbyn's policies, such as the renationalisation of railways and energy companies, have polled popularly with the general public.[40]

Awards[edit]

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."[41][42] In the same year, he received the Grassroot Diplomat Initiative Honouree for his "ongoing support for a number of non-government organisations and civil causes".[43] 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.[44]

Personal life[edit]

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 later said that he continued to "get on very well" with his ex-wife.[4][45] Ben was later sent to Queen Elizabeth's School, which was Bracchita's first choice.[46] In 2015, Corbyn married his long-term domestic partner Laura Alvarez.[47]

In a 2014 interview, Corbyn described himself as "parsimonious": "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 became a vegetarian in the 1970s, is a lifelong teetotaller, keen cricket fan, an Arsenal supporter – their Emirates Stadium is in his constituency – and currently resides in Finsbury Park, London.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Jeremy Corbyn MP". UK Parliament. Retrieved 2015-07-21. 
  2. ^ "Labour’s leadership contest". www.labour.org.uk. Retrieved 2015-07-21. 
  3. ^ a b Pickard, Jim (23 July 2015). "Leftwing outsider Jeremy Corbyn moves to Labour’s centre stage". FT.com. Retrieved 24 July 2015. 
  4. ^ a b Hattenstone, Simon. "Jeremy Corbyn: ‘I don’t do personal’". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 June 2015. 
  5. ^ a b "About me - Jeremy Corbyn MP". jeremycorbyn.org.uk. Retrieved 20 June 2015. 
  6. ^ "Jeremy Corbyn MP". UK Parliament. Retrieved 3 June 2015. 
  7. ^ a b Proctor, Kate (13 June 2015). "Labour MPs switch from Andy Burnham to left-winger Jeremy Corbyn in leadership race". Newcastle Evening Chronicle. Retrieved 20 June 2015. 
  8. ^ http://www.parliament.uk/edm/1995-96/1075
  9. ^ "MPs, actors, authors and musicians among 21,000 demanding arms embargo on Israel". Retrieved 23 June 2015. 
  10. ^ "Jeremy Corbyn". politics.co.uk. Retrieved 20 June 2015. 
  11. ^ "Find Your MP – Islington North – Jeremy Corbyn". BBC News. 
  12. ^ Frank Millar (26 September 1996). "Adams cancels Commons visit as Labour criticises Corbyn". irishtimes.com. Retrieved 23 July 2015. 
  13. ^ The Glasgow Herald, pg17, 17 Dec 1984
  14. ^ "Speaker to investigate reports of 'IRA men at Westminster' (From Herald Scotland)". heraldscotland.com. 22 November 1996. Retrieved 23 July 2015. 
  15. ^ "Outspoken host with the silver touch apologises, but is it going to save him? - Wales Online". walesonline.co.uk. 10 January 2004. Retrieved 23 July 2015. 
  16. ^ Robert Chalmers (6 June 2004). "Robert Kilroy-Silk: Here comes trouble - Profiles - People - The Independent". The Independent (London: INM). ISSN 0951-9467. OCLC 185201487. Retrieved 23 July 2015. 
  17. ^ "British MP Jeremy Corbyn Speaks out for Venezuela". teleSUR English. 5 June 2015. Retrieved 20 June 2015. 
  18. ^ "Early Day Motion 1255 - Pigeon Bombs". UK Parliament. 21 May 2004. Retrieved 20 June 2015. 
  19. ^ "Early Day Motion 136 - Importation of Foie Gras". UK Parliament. 16 June 2015. Retrieved 20 June 2015. 
  20. ^ "Early day motion 134 - Yulin Dog Meat Festival 2015". UK Parliament. 15 June 2015. Retrieved 20 June 2015. 
  21. ^ "McLibel Case - The story of two ordinary vegetarians taking on the giant McDonald's in London Court". jivdaya.org. 2011. Retrieved 23 July 2015. 
  22. ^ "Letters: People's Assembly Against Austerity". The Guardian. 5 February 2013. Retrieved 20 June 2015. 
  23. ^ "Sponsors". marchforhomes.org. Retrieved 20 June 2015. 
  24. ^ Corbyn, Jeremy (17 April 2014). "Nato belligerence endangers us all". Morning Star Online. 
  25. ^ Gilligan, Andrew (18 July 2015). "Jeremy Corbyn, friend to Hamas, Iran and extremists". The Telegraph. Retrieved 2 August 2015. 
  26. ^ "Voting Record for Jeremy Corbyn MP, Islington North (10133)". The Public Whip. 2015. Retrieved 20 June 2015. 
  27. ^ Eaton, George (26 January 2015). "The Labour left demand a change of direction - why their intervention matters". New Statesman. Retrieved 5 April 2015. 
  28. ^ Hussein, Meyrem (8 December 2010). "Islington North MP Jeremy Corbyn is the country’s lowest expenses claimer". Islington Gazette. Retrieved 20 June 2015. 
  29. ^ "Labour MPs who rebelled on Iraq". BBC News. 31 October 2006. Retrieved 31 October 2006. 
  30. ^ "Labour leadership: Jeremy Corbyn enters race". BBC News Online. 3 June 2015. Retrieved 3 June 2015. 
  31. ^ "Labour leadership: Jeremy Corbyn makes it on to ballot". BBC News. Retrieved 15 June 2015. 
  32. ^ "Unite backs Jeremy Corbyn for Labour leader". BBC News. 5 July 2015. Retrieved 5 July 2015. 
  33. ^ Gosden, Emily (29 July 2015). "Jeremy Corbyn receives Unison's backing for Labour leadership". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 29 July 2015. 
  34. ^ Perraudin, Frances (19 July 2015). "Labour leadership: Andy Burnham keeps door open for Jeremy Corbyn". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 July 2015. 
  35. ^ Gander, Kashmira (22 July 2015). "Jeremy Corbyn set to win Labour leadership race, poll finds". The Independent. Retrieved 27 July 2015. 
  36. ^ Helm, Tony (26 July 2015). "‘This is like Stop the War with bells on’: Jeremy Corbyn team shocked at momentum". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 July 2015. 
  37. ^ Grice, Andrew (22 July 2015). "Tony Blair: Labour could lose two more elections if it drifts further to the left". The Independent. Retrieved 27 July 2015. 
  38. ^ Dathan, Matt (22 July 2015). "Jeremy Corbyn: 'Tony Blair's big problem is that we're still waiting for the Chilcot Report to come out'". The Independent. Retrieved 27 July 2015. 
  39. ^ Dathan, Matt (23 July 2015). "John Prescott tells Tony Blair it is Iraq and not Jeremy Corbyn that stops people voting Labour". The Independent. Retrieved 27 July 2015. 
  40. ^ Dathan, Matt; Stone, Jon (23 July 2015). "The 9 charts that show the 'left-wing' policies of Jeremy Corbyn the public actually agrees with". The Independent. Retrieved 27 July 2015. 
  41. ^ "The Gandhi Foundation International Peace Award 2013". gandhifoundation.org. The Gandhi Foundation. 9 January 2014. Retrieved 2 May 2014. 
  42. ^ "GULLIVER: Jeremy Corbyn - An MP with ‘Gandhian values’". Camden New Journal. Retrieved 20 June 2015. 
  43. ^ "Grassroot Diplomat Who's Who". Grassroot Diplomat. 15 March 2015. Retrieved 27 April 2015. 
  44. ^ Malvern, Jack (10 January 2002). "Beards – Diary". The Times. 
  45. ^ Bloom, Dan (3 June 2015). "Who is Jeremy Corbyn? Everything you need to know about Labour's most left-wing leadership hopeful". Daily Mirror (London: Trinity Mirror). ISSN 9975-9950. OCLC 223228477. Retrieved 20 June 2015. 
  46. ^ What you need to know about Jeremy Corbyn at news.sky.com, accessed 27 July 2015
  47. ^ Cowley, Jason (29 July 2015). "Jeremy Corbyn interview: "I think we have to think in terms of the disillusioned who didn't vote"". New Statesman. Retrieved 30 July 2015. 

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Michael O'Halloran
Member of Parliament
for Islington North

1983–present
Incumbent