Exclusive: Jeremy Corbyn Allies Urge Him To Run For London Mayor

Friends of the former Labour leader want him to establish a new 'power base' for his progressive politics in the capital.
Jeremy Corbyn sits as an independent MP after Keir Starmer removed the Labour party whip following his response to an investigation into anti-Semitism in the party.
Jeremy Corbyn sits as an independent MP after Keir Starmer removed the Labour party whip following his response to an investigation into anti-Semitism in the party.
SOPA Images via Getty Images

Jeremy Corbyn is being encouraged by allies to run for mayor of London, HuffPost UK can reveal.

Several sources said the former Labour party leader was being urged to seek an “alternative power base” in the capital for his “progressive” brand of politics.

There have been question marks over Corbyn’s future since he had the Labour Party whip removed following his response to the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s (EHRC) report into anti-Semitism in the Labour Party.

The former leader now sits in the Commons as the Independent MP for Islington North, a constituency he has held since 1983.

The current Labour leader, Keir Starmer, has also said it is “difficult” to see how the whip could be restored to Corbyn given his opposition to the military alliance Nato.

A close Corbyn ally told HuffPost UK: “There are people who have encouraged him to run for mayor.

“There are people who feel that given the left’s progressive agenda through some of the metro mayors, having Jeremy do something similar in London would be a good axis.

“It’s not something he has ever said he has an appetite to do, but it has been discussed by people close to him.”

The source said the capital was seen by Corbyn’s allies as an “alternative power base” where he could do “more with the leftwing support he has in London”.

“And of course, it would be an easy win,” they added.

A former staffer said they thought a Corbyn bid for Sadiq Khan’s job in 2024 was “doable”, citing Ken Livingstone’s success in winning London as an independent candidate before being allowed to stand for Labour.

“Livingstone was able to defeat the party machine in 2000, and the party is a lot weaker now,” they said. “It would also be a nightmare for Starmer.”

They added: “I think if he’s not going to have the whip restored and there is no leadership change in sight, then why not? He may as well give it a go. He could win and he’d be good.”

But others expressed scepticism that Corbyn could win in the capital — especially now that the government has switched the voting system in mayoral elections from proportional representation to first past the post.

And they said he could even split the left-wing vote, allowing a Tory mayor to be elected.

“The people around Jeremy may want him to run, but does he really in his heart want to be the reason a Tory defeats a popular sitting mayor?” one Labour insider said.

“I don’t think he does, so he should ignore those who want him to run.

“All Jeremy will achieve is replacing a Labour mayor who has made the city fairer, safer and more equal with a Thatcherite Tory. If that’s what he wants good luck to him — but I look forward to reading about him in the dustbin of history.”

A Labour MP told HuffPost UK: “Corbyn running in London is a guaranteed Tory win.”

Corbyn was suspended from the Labour Party and had the whip removed in October 2020, in the immediate aftermath of the EHRC report.

He has since had his party membership reinstated, but several attempts by his allies to restore the whip have failed.

The EHRC investigation found Labour was responsible for unlawful acts of harassment and discrimination while Corbyn was at the helm, and identified “serious failings in the Labour Party leadership in addressing anti-Semitism and an inadequate process for handling antisemitism complaints”.

In response to the report’s findings, Corbyn said that while he accepted there was anti-Semitism in the party and that “one anti-Semite was too many”, he also believed the scale of the problem had been “dramatically overstated” by his opponents.

The unlikelihood of Corbyn having the whip reinstated has led to rumours that he could contest his seat as an independent at the next general election.

Earlier this year the Telegraph reported that Corbyn was also being encouraged to upgrade his campaigning outlet, the peace and justice project, into a new political party.

A spokesperson for Corbyn told HuffPost UK: “Jeremy is focused on his responsibility as the Member of Parliament for Islington North, representing constituents, holding the Tory government to account and demanding action on the cost of living climate scandal that is causing stress and misery for millions.”

A source close to the former Labour boss also played down the prospect of him running to be mayor.


What's Hot