Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn wins as independent MP after being expelled from party

Corbyn won the Islington constituency with 24,120 votes, 7,247 more votes than Labour's Indian-origin candidate Praful Nargund, who secured 16,873 votes.
Last Updated : 05 July 2024, 06:32 IST

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London: Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn on Friday retained his Islington North seat as an independent despite being expelled from the party, which is set to rule the UK after winning the general election.

Corbyn won the Islington constituency with 24,120 votes, 7,247 more votes than Labour's Indian-origin candidate Praful Nargund, who secured 16,873 votes.

The 75-year-old former Labour leader served the ward as a Labour member since 1983, winning the seat 10 times at elections. But at this contest, he stood as an independent candidate after the Labour Party whip was suspended from him in 2020, The Independent newspaper reported.

He faced a tight race, despite winning a majority of 26,000 - 1,180 more than this year - at the last general election in 2019 as Labour leader.

British-Indian Prime Minister Rishi Sunak conceded defeat on Friday as his Conservative Party was on course for one of its worst election defeats. The Keir Starmer-led Labour Party hurtled towards a landslide victory in the historic UK election.

Official results showed the Labour Party has won enough seats to have a majority in the UK Parliament and will form the next government. The Labour Party is estimated to have a majority of around 160 seats in the House of Commons.

The party had won 326 of the 650 seats by 5 am Friday as counting continued.

Corbyn upon his victory said: “Our campaign was a positive one, it did not get into the gutter of politics. Ours was a positive campaign trying to bring hope to people.

“Our campaign was utterly determined to bring unity to it. This result is a resounding message from the people of Islington North that they want something better.

“I owe my life, learning, and abilities entirely to the people of Islington North. This victory is dedicated entirely to them.”

Corbyn was blocked from standing as a Labour candidate in March 2023 by Keir Starmer but announced soon after the election was called that he would be standing as an independent, leading to his expulsion from Labour.

In October 2020, he was suspended from the party and lost the parliamentary whip after describing antisemitism in Labour as “dramatically overstated for political reasons” in response to a critical report from the equality watchdog.

After 19 days, he was readmitted to the party, but Starmer’s refusal to reinstate the whip meant he continued to sit as an independent MP until the general election was called.

When asked about the future of the Labour Party after his victory, Corbyn said: “The Labour Party has won a very large majority but on a considerably lower vote than was achieved in previous elections.

“I think the figure is likely to be around 37 per cent of the vote, which is not a great figure on which to have a huge parliamentary majority. It does call into question the first past the post system and that no doubt is going to be a debate.

“And so of course the Labour Party has a massive future but if the Labour Party is going to be the inclusive organisation it ought to be then it’s going to have to loosen up a bit, and open up a bit, otherwise this idea of imposed candidates and removal of democracy within the party is not good for the future and not very good for democracy.”

Corbyn’s victory ends a tradition of Islington North voting for Labour since a 1937 by-election.

Published 05 July 2024, 06:32 IST

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