Jeremy Corbyn wins Islington North as independent; Labour secures victory in general election

Labour secures landslide victory in UK general election, but triumph marred by centrist program and stance on Gaza

July 05, 2024 by Peoples Dispatch
Source: Jeremy Corbyn/X

Jeremy Corbyn has been re-elected to the British Parliament, this time as an independent candidate. Corbyn won in his long-standing constituency of Islington North with a margin of over 7,000 votes over Labour candidate Praful Nargund. According to Corbyn, the result in Islington North is “a warning to the incoming government that dissent cannot be crushed without consequences. That ideas of equality, justice, and peace are eternal.”

Labour leadership blocked Corbyn from standing as a party candidate in this election following years of a campaign against him within party structures and in corporate media. Like other Labour members leaning explicitly towards the left, Corbyn faced extreme pressure and attacks against his policies, even during his tenure as Labour leader, despite receiving widespread support among the public.

The incoming government Corbyn referred to will be a Labour one. Keir Starmer is set to become the next prime minister after the party secured one of its biggest electoral victories in history, winning 412 seats. In comparison, the Conservatives, who held power for almost 15 years, struggled to reach 121 seats. These results align with pre-election polls, which predicted that former prime minister Rishi Sunak and his party would be punished for failing to address crucial issues such as the cost of living crisis, struggling public services, including the National Health Service (NHS), and more.

Read more: Labour Party set to win the UK election, but what does this mean for the people?

Election night brought some surprises, even for the triumphant Labour. The party lost to independent candidates running on an explicitly pro-Palestine platform in several constituencies in addition to Islington North. Starmer’s stance on Israel’s attacks on the Gaza Strip since October last year, as well as Labour’s unwillingness to adopt a decisive call for a ceasefire early in the war on Gaza, alienated a significant part of the Labour voting base. Despite their eagerness to oust the Tories, thousands of voters made clear that the next government would be held accountable for its international alliances, including support for Israel.

Gains were recorded by the Green Party, which secured four seats in Parliament, and Nigel Farage’s right-wing Reform UK, which obtained the same number of representatives despite joining the campaign at the last minute. The Liberal Democrats increased their representation to over 70 seats, while the Scottish National Party (SNP) suffered a major blow, keeping only 9 seats, down by 37 from the last election.

Despite widespread relief being reported at the Tories being ousted from power, many voters remain uncertain about what to expect from Starmer’s new cabinet. Labour’s campaign manifesto was described by many on the left as insufficient to represent a decisive break from the path set by the Tories, including the continued commodification of essential services such as healthcare. Speaking after the announcement of election results, Corbyn described the Labour manifesto as “thin, to put it mildly,” and emphasized that public demands for improvements will be huge.

Although the measures currently proposed by Labour are far from enough to get the UK on the right track, the presence of Corbyn and other progressive voices like Diane Abbott, who is likely to be re-elected as a Labour MP, will ensure the new administration is held accountable for its decisions.

“Tonight’s results in Islington North give us a glimpse of a different future, which puts the interests of the many ahead of those of the few,” Corbyn said in his post-election statement. “Tonight, we celebrate. Tomorrow, we organize. The energy we have unleashed will not go to waste.”