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‘Jez we can!’ Wild support for Corbyn at Islington homecoming rally

PUBLISHED: 23:38 07 June 2017 | UPDATED: 00:42 08 June 2017

Jeremy Corbyn at the rally in Islington's Union Chapel. Picture: Carline Cheng

Jeremy Corbyn at the rally in Islington's Union Chapel. Picture: Carline Cheng

Archant

Thousands of fanatical Jeremy Corbyn supporters gathered at Islington’s Union Chapel for a homecoming rally tonight.

The Labour leader and Islington North incumbent was greeted by 800 people inside the chapel. He was holding his 90th rally of the general election campaign ahead of polling day tomorrow. There were hundreds more outside.

After being introduced on stage by his Islington South and Finsbury colleague Emily Thornberry, the ecstatic crowd stood applauding Mr Corbyn for a full two minutes. As the noise finally died down, a grinning Mr Corbyn roared: “Thank you, Islington!”

Mr Corbyn has barely been seen in his constituency since Theresa May called the election on April 18. And he said: “I haven’t been in Islington very much over the last seven weeks. On the day the election was announced, I went straight to Birmingham to promise carers a better deal. Since then, I have travelled 7,000 miles around the country.”

But he added: “I am very proud to represent Islington North in Parliament. I am eternally grateful to all those who have voted for me over the past 34 years.

Islington's Union Chapel was packed to its 800 capacity at Jeremy Corbyn's homecoming rally. Picture: Carline Cheng Islington's Union Chapel was packed to its 800 capacity at Jeremy Corbyn's homecoming rally. Picture: Carline Cheng

“I see people suffering. People worried about their children. People worried about their jobs in public services. It’s for them, and the country as a whole, that we will deliver our manifesto.”

Mr Corbyn also promised to get behind Islington Council in its council house building scheme, and continue to protect the Whittington Hospital.

He concluded: “We have been here in Union Chapel many times before, to defend this or protect that. But tonight, it’s positive. Things will be different.

“I want to represent you all in Parliament, but above all I want to see the cynical way in which this election was called turned on its head.”

Hundreds watch Jeremy Corbyn arrive at the rally in Islington's Union Chapel. Picture: Jonathan Brady/PA Hundreds watch Jeremy Corbyn arrive at the rally in Islington's Union Chapel. Picture: Jonathan Brady/PA

After Mr Corbyn left the stage, the departing audience was greeted by hundreds more supporters – chanting “Jez we can” and “Jezza’s coming home” – who had gathered outside in Compton Terrace.

The entire evening felt like a world famous rock band’s glorious homecoming show, rather than a political rally. It went right down to the shouting Socialist Worker vendors outside Highbury and Islington station to the desperate calls on Twitter for spare tickets. And it extended to merchandise: hundreds donned “Corbyn” t-shirts.

And Mrs Thornberry, a key player in Labour’s election campaign, carried on the rock star vibes as she gave a warm-up speech for Mr Corbyn.

As she entered, supporters chanted “oh, Emily Thornberry” to the tune of the White Stripes’ Seven Nation Army. And she swaggered to the front of the stage like Liam Gallagher in his Oasis days, shouting: “Come on!”

Emily Thornberry at Jeremy Corbyn's homecoming rally at Islington's Union Chapel. Picture: Carline Cheng Emily Thornberry at Jeremy Corbyn's homecoming rally at Islington's Union Chapel. Picture: Carline Cheng

She said: “We are a rich country which believes in society and looking after each other. The star of the show – some people would say Jeremy Corbyn. But I would say it’s our manifesto.

“How about I introduce someone who has withstood the most enormous pressure, who has shown strength, purpose and vision. The next Prime Minister.”

Audience member Paul Willcocks, of Hornsey Rise, said afterwards: “It felt like a party, almost. Jeremy Corbyn is cross-generational, igniting people’s passion in politics. It’s great that he finished in Islington.”

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