Jeremy Corbyn: A rise from the fringes of mainstream politics to Labour leader
PUBLISHED: 11:56 12 September 2015 | UPDATED: 11:56 12 September 2015
Jeremy Corbyn has spent virtually his entire career on the fringes of mainstream politics.
Jeremy Corbyn: A career in pictures
Jeremy Corbyn and Alex Bughurt after the MP won his seat in the election earlier this year, in what was another landslide victory.
Director Ken Loach with MP Jeremy Corbyn at the Reel Islington Film Festival
MP Jeremy Corbyn at Islington Council's pensioners' Christmas party
MP Jeremy Corbyn at the march against government cuts in Islington in 2010.
Jeremy Corbyn, MP for Islington North and Father Aodh celebrate Chinese New Year
Jeremy Corbyn hugs a supporter at the Jeremy Corbyn Labour Party leadership rally in the Camden Centre.
Jeremy Corbyn at the Jeremy Corbyn Labour Party leadership rally in the Camden Centre.
Jeremy Corbyn thanks the audience at the Jeremy Corbyn Labour Party leadership rally in the Camden Centre.
Jeremy Corbyn MP backs British bees at Westminster. 15th January 2013. 125 MPs attended the event from 6 different political parties. 85 MPs also signed up to support a national bee action plan.
Jeremy Corbyn with London's town crier Peter Moore, 64, outside Parliament with other pensioners protesting for a higher state pension on November 7, 2000. Picture: PA
Jeremy Corbyn speaks at the protest outside Islington Town Hall, London, as Islington Council Parking Attendants and Parking Finance employees began Industrial action in October 2002. Picture: PA
Comedian and CND supporter Mark Thomas (centre) joins Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn (centre-left) and Plaid Cymr's Hywel Williams (centre-right) and other protesters campaigning against military action in Iraq outside the Royal Courts of Justice in central London in November 2002. The peace campaign group launched a legal bid to block any action against Iraq by the UK. Picture: PA
Jeremy Corbyn arrives to join the West Belfast Talks Back panel at St Louise's College, as the Labour leadership contender said the British Government needs to fund Northern Ireland's welfare system properly and warned of increased poverty because of Tory plans.
Jeremy Corbyn speaks during an event to mark the 70th anniversary of the Hiroshima bomb, in Tavistock Square, London.
Labour leadership contender Jeremy Corbyn arrives by bicycle to launch his new policies on the environment at Camley Street Natural Park in London.
Jeremy Corbyn, MP for Islington North, in 1984, a year after being elected. Picture: PA
Organisers of the 'British Out of Ireland' march - including Jeremy Corbyn - walk down Downing Street in August, 1984, carrying a black wreath in memory of Sean Downes, killed in Belfast a week earlier. Picture: PA
Jerry MacLochlainn of Sinn Fein (left) with Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn (centre) and Sinn Fein Councillor Franis Molloy, during a demonstration march in 1992 that marked 20 years since Bloody Sunday.
Hunger-striking Tamil refugees are joined on board the Government detention ship Earl William in 1987 by Labour MPs Diane Abbott, Harry Cohen (centre) and Jeremy Corbyn.
Labour MPs (l-r) Jeremy Corbyn, Keith Vaz and Bob Litherland speak to the press after visiting Sri Lankan immigrant Viraj Mendis in London's Pentonville prison in1989. Picture: PA
Jeremy Corbyn delivers an abolition petition to 10 Downing Street with other members of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, on the final day of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference.
Local MPs Emily Thornberry (left) and Jeremy Corbyn lay a wreath at a shrine to twelve citizens of Islington inside the Union Chapel in London on September 22, 2005. The Multi Faith Memorial Service rememberd these twelve citizens who were killed alongside forty others murdered in the July 2005 terror attacks on the capital by four suicide bombers. Photo by Andrew Stuart/PA
Jeremy Corbyn MP rides a mechanical bull in support of Friends of the Earth's planet friendly farming campaign in Victoria Tower Gardens, Millbank,on May 2, 2009.
Jeremy Corbyn speaks to journalists outside Parliament after the historic judgement at the House of Lords overturning a High Court ruling on November 25, 1998, that former Chilean dictator General Pinochet had immunity from arrest. Picture: PA
Politicians in Islington have written a letter to the CEO of the Post Office Ltd concerning Highbury Corner Post Office. Cllr Richard Watts, Jeremy Corbyn MP, Emily Thornberry MP and Geoff Poole from the Communication Workers Union (CWU)
Emily Thornberry and Jeremy Corbyn pictured in 2013
Jack Wilshere with Cllr Catherine West, MP Jeremy Corbyn and Mayor Cllr Jilani Chowdhury Pic: Stuart MacFarlane
But this weekend the 66-year-old Islington MP has stormed to victory in the Labour leadership race with a staggering 59.5 per cent share of the vote in the first round.
Mr Corbyn secured his seat as MP for Islington North in 1983 – the year when Labour’s general election manifesto was described as the “longest suicide note in history”.
He still stands by many of the policies from the document championed by then-leader Michael Foot – such as unilateral nuclear disarmament and renationalisation of utilities.
But over the next three decades or so the party took a different path from Mr Corbyn, with first Neil Kinnock, then John Smith and Tony Blair shifting it towards the political centre ground.
Mr Corbyn was among a small “awkward squad” of left-wingers who repeatedly rebelled against Blairite policies – in vain given Labour’s huge Commons majority post-1997.
He staunchly opposed the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq in the early noughties, becoming national chairman of the Stop the War coalition in 2001.
Mr Corbyn never gained much of a profile beyond Westminster and his natural milieu on the left, but his support in Islington has continued to grow during his 32 year career as MP for the UK’s smallest constituency.
He has been at the forefront of many campaigns against cuts to public services including the proposed sell off of part of the Whittington Hospital site in 2013.
And the stalwart was re-elected earlier this year with a landslide victory which eclipsed his closest rival by a majority of 21,194 – surpassing his 2010 majority by nearly 9,000.
Indeed, throughout his campaign he has been keen to stress his commitment to Islington should he become the next Labour leader, vowing to tackle the borough’s swelling housing list as a priority, re-address the benefits cap and “rebalance” the community which he says has been divided by soaring house prices due to the lack of power locally to restrict the number of luxury housing developments.
In an interview with the Gazette in July, he said: “I’ve spent the last three decades and more representing the people of this area and that is not going to change. People have been incredibly supportive. I thought initially when we decided that we were going to give it a go, that people wouldn’t be very happy about it.
“On the contrary, there has been nothing but overwhelming friendship and them saying: ‘good luck’ and we’ll support you whatever the result.”
Mr Corbyn, as someone who had never displayed an ambition to climb the ministerial ladder previously, has also been overwhelmed by the support for his campaign nationally.
When he announced in June that he was standing for the leadership, his chances were largely dismissed by commentators.
He very nearly failed to make it on to the ballot paper – achieving the required 35 nominations from MPs just two minutes before the deadline.
The threshold was only crested because figures on the right of the party, such as Frank Field, backed him to broaden the debate.
But if people were surprised that Mr Corbyn reached the starting line, they were shocked by what happened next.
His easy, conversational style and willingness to propose radical policies – such as printing money to ease pressure on the Government’s finances – saw him outperform the three cautious frontbenchers in a series of hustings, before going onto win the contest with 251, 417 votes, in what is a landmark day in Islington’s political history and turning point for Labour.