Stunning win for Corbyn and Thornberry as Labour do double in Islington
Labour leader won highest number of votes an Islington North MP has ever received - and could be PM
09 June, 2017 — By Koos Couvée
Emily Thornberry and Jeremy Corbyn celebrate with party supporters at the count in Islington
LABOUR leader Jeremy Corbyn won the highest number of votes an Islington North MP has ever received – and this morning (Friday) is contemplating whether he could be Britain’s next Prime Minister.
As Labour made massive gains nationally against all odds, Mr Corbyn was returned with a massively increased majority of 33,215 in Islington North after 74 per cent of voters turned out – the highest since 1951.
The 40,086 votes Mr Corbyn got was the highest ever recorded by any candidate in the history of the constituency. Meanwhile, Emily Thornberry romped home in Islington South and Finsbury with a majority of 20,263, compared to one of 12,708 that she gained in 2015.
“The British people said one thing – they said no to Mrs May,” she said. “The one who’s been strong and stable has been Jeremy Corbyn. I cannot remember a politician in Britain who has put up with so much.”
In a rousing victory speech, Mr Corbyn told the crowd gathered at the count at the Sobell Leisure Centre in Finsbury Park that his victory, and Labour’s gains nationally, meant that politics had changed fundamentally.
“I have travelled the whole country and I have spoken at so many rallies, and you know what? Politics has changed,” he said. “And politics isn’t going back into the box where it was before.
“People have said they have had quite enough of austerity politics, quite enough of cuts in public expenditure, underfunding our health service, underfunding our schools and our education service and not giving our young people the chances they deserve in our society.
“I’m very proud of our campaign that we have ran, our manifesto for the many, not the few, and I’m very proud of the results that were coming in tonight. Of people voting for hope, hope for the future.”
Mr Corbyn, who called on Prime Minister Theresa May to resign in his victory speech, left the Sobell Centre contemplating whether he could be Prime Minister after the Conservatives failed to gain a nationwide majority – and he hinted he was ready to take power.
He said: “I would have thought [the result] is enough for [the Prime Minister] to go, actually, and make way for a government that will be truly representative of all people across the country.
“And so we await the rest of the results, but I can assure you of this, in the new Parliament we will do everything to ensure that everything we’ve said in this campaign and in our manifesto is put before Parliament. This country can be a different, and I believe fundamentally better place.”
Turnout was up highest in more than two decades in Islington South, at just under 70 per cent. Anecdotally, Labour sources said this was due to a massive increase in young people voting – a picture that was reflected across the country and that played a key role in Labour outperforming expectations.
The Liberal Democrats failed to make any significant gains, coming third in both constituencies, as they did in 2015.
Keith Angus, the Lib Dem candidate in Islington North, said: “We held our core vote, but in the last week of canvassing it was becoming clear that the national Labour momentum was unstoppable and the mood was reflected here. He [Mr Corbyn] has an incredible mandate.”
Green candidate Caroline Russell, the Highbury East ward councillor who came third in Islington North in 2015, came fourth this time with 2,229 votes.
“We have seen politics change,” she said of Mr Corbyn’s win. “It’s amazing that Theresa May has been shown the back door by people.”
The Conservatives, meanwhile, hoped to better their 2015 performance, when they came second in both constituencies. However, their vote share actually dropped by almost five per cent in Islington North and 1.6 per cent in Islington South.
Jason Charalambous, Tory candidate in Islington South, said: “With work we can provide a credible opposition to the one-party state that is Islington.”
Mr Corbyn left the Sobell Centre as people chanted his name.