Pro-Palestine candidates, including Corbyn, secure wins in UK election

Former Labour Party leader and pro-Palestine activist Jeremy Corbyn was re-elected in Islington North as an independent candidate.

Former Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn (C) joins pro-Palestinian supporters
Former Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn (C) joins pro-Palestinian supporters preparing to march through central London [File: Benjamin Cremel/AFP]

Five independent pro-Palestine candidates, including former Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, have won in United Kingdom general elections with Israel’s war on Gaza among key issues for voters.

The other four independent candidates who won their seats from Labour on Friday include Shockat Adam in Leicester South, Ayoub Khan in Birmingham Perry Barr, Adnan Hussain in Blackburn, and Iqbal Mohamed in Dewsbury and Batley.

Both the Conservatives, who were routed in the election, and Labour have said they want the fighting in Gaza to stop. Yet, they have backed Israel’s right to defend itself, angering pro-Palestine and Muslim voters across the country.

Labour leader Keir Starmer, who will be the next prime minister, was heckled with shouts of “Free Palestine” both at the polling station in his Holborn and St Pancras
constituency and at his election count as he was declared to have won his seat.

Corbyn, 75, who has represented London’s Islington North constituency for more than 40 years, was re-elected after defeating Labour’s Praful Nargund by 24,120 votes to 16,873.

He said those who voted for him were “looking for a government that on the world stage will search for peace, not war, and not allow the terrible conditions to go on in Gaza at the present time”.

In a separate statement on Friday morning thanking his supporters, Corbyn said the result was a “glimpse of a different future, which puts the interests of many ahead of those of the few”.

“It is also a warning – a warning to the incoming government that dissent cannot be crushed without consequences.

“It has been the honour of my life to represent you, the people of Islington North. I will continue to learn from you, be accountable to you and draw inspiration from you. The future we speak of is no pipedream; our community is proof that a kinder, fairer world is possible.”

Adam unseated Labour frontbencher Jonathan Ashworth in Leicester South. Mohamed, whose key focus areas include a ceasefire in Gaza, beat the Labour candidate Heather Iqbal in Dewsbury and Batley.

In Blackburn, Labour’s Kate Hollern lost to Adnan Hussain, who said in his online statement to voters: “I promise to make your concerns against the injustice being inflicted against the people of Gaza be heard in the places where our so-called representatives failed.”

As leader, Corbyn shifted Labour from the centre and energised supporters. He led Labour through the 2016 vote to leave the European Union and did better than expected in the 2017 general election. However, the party performed poorly in the 2019 election and he stepped down as leader.

His time as party leader was highly divisive, with supporters saying his popular policies were drowned out by negative media coverage and critics attacking his approach to Brexit, the handling of anti-Semitism allegations, and his appeal in traditional Labour heartlands.

He was suspended from the party in 2020 after he refused to accept the findings of a rights watchdog’s probe into claims that anti-Semitism was rife under his leadership.

At the start of the election, Corbyn announced that he would contest the constituency as “an independent voice for equality, democracy and peace”.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies