Pro-Gaza MP Corbyn to stand as independent in UK general election

Pro-Gaza MP Corbyn to stand as independent in UK general election
Jeremy Corbyn confirmed that he will be standing as an independent candidate in Islington North, saying he will work towards greater democracy.
3 min read
24 May, 2024
Jeremy Corbyn makes a speech at a protest demanding a Gaza ceasefire [Reem Khabbazy/The New Arab]

Former UK Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn has confirmed he will be standing as an independent candidate in Islington North, highlighting he aims to tackle issues of inequality, division, and work towards greater democracy.

Corbyn has represented the London constituency since 1983 and will now be running as the incumbent against Labour in the general election set for July.

The veteran left-winger delivered the news first in his local Islington Tribune newspaper, adding he would be a "voice for equality, democracy and peace".

"I believe in democracy, I want our political parties to be more democratic…this country has become more divided than ever, there are more people in desperate poverty than I’ve ever known."

"There are more people using foodbanks and more families wondering how on earth they can make ends meet," he added, highlighting a number of issues including the housing crisis and calling for a fundamental redistribution of power and wealth.

Corbyn was suspended as a Labour MP in 2020 over his response to a report into alleged anti-Semitism in the party, where he suggested that the scale of the problem had been "dramatically overstated" by opponents.

Since the start of Israel’s war on Gaza in October, Corbyn has pressed for a ceasefire and highlighted the dire conditions in the besieged Strip.

In an opinion article published in The Guardian in April, Corbyn said "in the near feature, our history books will shame those who had the opportunity to stop this massacre but chose to cheer on war instead".

"They will be immortalised for their inability to treat Israeli and Palestinian lives with equal worth. They will be remembered for their failure to prevent genocide," he adds.

Labour will now announce its candidate to challenge Corbyn in his north London seat on 1 June.

The 74-year-old spent the majority of his parliamentary career on the backbenches, and became Labour leader in 2015 after receiving backing from party members.

In 2019, he stepped down as a leader following Labour’s heavy defeat to the Conservatives in the general election.

Andrew Feinstein, a former MP from South Africa's ruling African National Congress (ANC), also announced this week that he will be standing as an independent candidate in Holborn and St Pancras at the UK general election against Labour leader Keir Starmer.

Feinstein, who is of Jewish ancestry and a strong supporter of the Palestinian cause, made the announcement at a constituency event, saying the area "needs an MP who represents the views, aspirations and needs of the people of Camden".

Starmer has faced huge criticism for his backing of Israel during the war on Gaza, leading to significant wins for independents in recent local elections.

Support for Labour

Earlier this year, a poll showed that support for the Labour Party among British Muslims has tumbled since the 2019 general election, signalling the impact of Starmer's stance on Israel’s war on Gaza.

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The survey, carried out by Survation for the Labour Muslim Network (LMN), found that support for the party among British Muslims fell from 86 to 60 percent from 2019 to February 2024.

It also showed that an overwhelming majority - 85 percent - believe the position taken by British political leaders on the Israel-Palestine conflict will be very or somewhat important to influencing how they vote for at the upcoming general election.