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Corbyn is ‘honest face of politics’, say constituents

Backing for long-serving Islington North MP embroiled in Labour whip row

20 November, 2020 — By Calum Fraser

The Jeremy Corbyn mural that was unveiled on the side of the North Nineteen pub in 2017, with the MP joining supporters to see the artwork tribute

MOST politicians would be lucky to be recognised by the average punter when they walk down the street in their constituency, let alone have their image immortalised in an 8ft mural on the side of a pub.

The artwork, on the outside wall of the North Nineteen in Sussex Way, Upper Holloway, illustrates the admiration MP Jeremy Corbyn has inspired in his Islington North constituents.

At the same time, the online trolls who point to it with ridicule, speaks to another side of the former Labour leader’s relationship with the public outside of his constituency.

Landlord Tony Cullen, who has run the N19 for 13 years, commissioned the mural, called “The Honest Face of Politics”, in 2017 after Mr Corbyn had spent years helping him with a financial and legal battle he had with his suppliers.

Mr Cullen said: “My impression of him is that he is unlike any other politician, he has the human face. A lot of these politicians are unapproachable and unassailable. When you do try to talk to them they pass you to an aide.”

He added: “I’ve lived in the borough my whole life. If you ever need something done, you write to him and he gets it done.”

Mr Corbyn was first elected to parliament in 1983. He gained nearly 65 per cent of the vote in the constituency at last year’s general election.

Colin Adams, director of the Brickworks Community Centre

Only three MPs in the House of Commons have served their constituencies for longer than him.

Colin Adams, director of the Brickworks Community Centre, where Mr Corbyn launched his Islington North campaign last year, said: “He’s a fantastic MP.

“He’s truly liked and well-respected in the area and I think you will find it hard to find someone to say something bad about him in this constituency.

“Without him so many of the social actions in the area would not have happened. If something is wrong in Islington he will try to make it right.”

He added: “I don’t think they will keep the whip away from him, it will be devastating if he’s not in the Labour Party.”

Mr Corbyn with N19 landlord Tony Cullen and wife Karen

Mr Corbyn now stands as an Independent after he had the whip removed by Labour leader Keir Starmer and chief whip Nick Brown, a fellow longstanding MP and member of the 1983 intake.

Niki Gibbs is on the board of the Community Plan For Holloway group which is holding Peabody to account over the redevelopment of the former Holloway Prison site in Parkhurst Road.

She said: “When we met in his office I found him quite considered and fairly well-informed. When he didn’t understand something he would ask us to backtrack and go over it again.

“I found him genuinely interested.”

Ms Gibbs, who lives in Upper Holloway, added: “I’ve voted for several different parties over the years, anyone except the Conservatives, really.

“But I think Jeremy has served the area well.

“It’s been his life’s work. In that sense I think the mural is a nice honour to him.”

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