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Politician & Activist

Jeremy Corbyn

Jeremy Corbyn is a British politician serving as Leader of the Labour Party and Leader of the Opposition since 2015.

Corbyn has been the Member of Parliament for Islington North since 1983. Ideologically, he identifies as a democratic socialist.

  • Born: 26 May 1949 (age 70 years), Chippenham, Wiltshire, England
  • Full name: Jeremy Bernard Corbyn
  • Office: Leader of the Opposition in the United Kingdom since 2015
  • Spouse: Laura Alvarez (m. 2013), Claudia Bracchitta (m. 1987–1999), Jane Chapman (m. 1974–1979)
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About Jeremy Corbyn

Corbyn was born on 26 May 1949 in Chippenham, Wiltshire, England. He is the youngest of the four sons of David Benjamin Corbyn (1915–1986), an electrical engineer and expert in power rectifiers and Naomi Loveday (née Josling; 1915–1987), a maths teacher.

His brother Piers Corbyn is a physicist, meteorologist and weather forecaster.

His parents were Labour Party members and peace campaigners who met in the 1930s at a committee meeting in support of the Spanish Republic at Conway Hall during the Spanish Civil War.

When Corbyn was seven, the family moved to Pave Lane in Shropshire, where his father bought Yew Tree Manor, a 17th-century country house which was once part of the Duke of Sutherland’s Lilleshall estate.

Corbyn attended Castle House School, an independent preparatory school near Newport, Shropshire, before, at age 11, becoming a day student at the Adams’ Grammar School in the town.

While still at school, he became active in The Wrekin constituency Young Socialists, his local Labour Party, and the League Against Cruel Sports.

He joined the Labour Party at age 16 and achieved two A-Levels, at grade E, the lowest-possible passing grade, before leaving school at 18.

Corbyn joined the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) in 1966 whilst at school and later became one of its three vice-chairs and subsequently vice-president. Around this time he also campaigned against the Vietnam War.

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After school, Corbyn worked briefly as a reporter for a local newspaper, the Newport and Market Drayton Advertiser.

At around the age of 19 he spent two years doing Voluntary Service Overseas in Jamaica as a youth worker and geography teacher.

He subsequently travelled through Latin America in 1969 and 1970, visiting Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Chile.

Whilst in Brazil he participated in a student demonstration in São Paulo against the Brazilian military government.

He also attended a May Day march in Santiago, where the atmosphere around Salvador Allende’s Popular Unity alliance which swept to power in the Chilean elections of 1970 made an impression on him: ” noticed something very different from anything I had experienced… What Popular Unity and Allende had done was weld together the folk tradition, the song tradition, the artistic tradition and the intellectual tradition”.

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Corbyn joined Labour as a teenager. Moving to London, he became a trade union representative.

In 1974, he was elected to Haringey Council and became Secretary of Hornsey Constituency Labour Party, until elected as the MP for Islington North in 1983.

His activism has included roles in Anti-Fascist Action, the Anti-Apartheid Movement and the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, and advocating for a united Ireland.

As a backbench MP, he frequently voted against the Labour whip, including New Labour governments under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.

A vocal opponent of the Iraq War, he chaired the Stop the War Coalition from 2011 to 2015.

Corbyn received the Gandhi International Peace Award in 2013 and the Seán MacBride Peace Prize in 2017.

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Corbyn was elected Labour leader in 2015. The party’s membership increased sharply, both during the leadership campaign and following his election.

Taking the party to the left, he advocated renationalisation of public utilities and the railways, a less interventionist military policy, and reversals of austerity cuts to welfare and public services.

Although critical of the European Union, he supported continued membership in the 2016 referendum.

After Labour MPs sought to remove him in 2016, he won a second leadership contest.

In the 2017 general election, Labour increased its share of the vote to 40%, with Labour’s 9.6% vote swing being its largest since the 1945 general election.

Under Corbyn, Labour achieved a net gain of 30 seats and a hung parliament, but the party remained in Opposition.

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In 2019, Corbyn endorsed holding a referendum on any Brexit withdrawal agreement, with a personal stance of neutrality.

In the 2019 general election, Labour’s vote share of 32% fell by 7.8% compared with 2017, although it was higher than for the two previous elections, leading to a net loss of 60 seats and leaving it with 202, its fewest since 1935.

Corbyn said that he would not lead Labour into the next election, triggering a 2020 leadership election.

According to a number of studies, media coverage of Corbyn has often been hostile.

He has condemned antisemitism but has been criticised for his past associations and responses to allegations of antisemitism within the Labour Party.