Mural of Jeremy Corbyn above the North Nineteen pub

Corbyn well-liked in Islington North but divides opinion politically 

Support for Jeremy Corbyn remains strong among voters in Islington North despite years of controversy, but some argue his tenth successive election in 2019 should be his last.

Scrutiny surrounding him standing for Labour at the next election was intensified last week when Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer blocked Corbyn from running.

Starmer’s announcement is seen by some as more than an effort to rid Labour of Corbyn-based controversy, seeking to purge the party’s more leftists elements in an effort to appeal more to previously Conservative voters.

In a constituency he has held since 1983, Corbyn’s name rings in the ears of voters more than in those of many of his Parliamentary colleagues.

NHS worker Vanessa, 32, said: “People vote for Corbyn the person, not Labour, because everyone likes him and, going by people who know him, he’s a nice person. He’s very vocal in the community and popular among the people.

Samuel, a 53-year-old market researcher, echoed this point when recalling an interaction with Corbyn at the 2003 FA Cup final between Arsenal and Southampton.

He said: “Being the MP for the Holloway Road you can tell who he was supporting that day. But I found him very approachable, very easy to talk to.

“He’s absolutely not an anti-Semite, he’s a very principled man. But it’s a thankless job and of course the blames going to land on him.”

Civil servant Tyler, 25, said ‘He does often play into anti-Semitism, which is pretty standard for old school lefties like him, but I think a lot of it is unknowingly.

“I mean it’s fair enough to criticise Israel, they’ve had their controversies, but he could also talk about Russia, about China.

“However, even though he’s controversial, I’d say it’s wrong for Starmer to not let him run.

“Islington North is a pretty Corbynite constituency, we’ve always voted for him and we’ve got that mural of him, but if he ran as an independent it would probably still go Labour.”

At the Refugee Community Kitchen, originally established in the Calais Jungle, set up outside Archway tube station on Wednesday evening, volunteer and retired leadership consultant Leslie professed full support for Starmer preventing Corbyn’s standing.

She said: “Blocking him is the right thing to do. He didn’t support the equalities report. He didn’t do enough to quash anti-Semitism. I’ve got Jewish Labour friends and I’ve seen the messages they were receiving. 

“You know, there is such a thing as collective responsibility and when Boris won his landslide I would say that is 35% attributable to Corbyn.”

Leslie argued Corbyn would damage Labour’s electoral prospects further through standing as an independent, believing Corbyn would not lose his constituency without a fight.

She added: “He’ll split the vote. He’ll stand as an independent because he’s a proud man.”

Corbyn himself has yet to pass comment on the question of an independent candidacy but has previously spoken often of his loyalty to Labour, having joined the party age 16. 

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