THE BLOG
16/06/2015 07:49 BST | Updated 15/06/2016 06:59 BST

Who Is Jeremy Corbyn?

Jeremy Corbyn secured the backing of 35 fellow parliamentarians for the Labour party leadership contest on Monday, in what was a nail-biting race to get his nomination in on time. Or at least, nail-biting for anyone who cared whether his name appears on the ballot sheet - of which there are few enough.

Corbyn in unlikely to win the election. His struggle to get his required 35 nominations and only reaching it at the eleventh hour is proof of this. Even some of those who have nominated him have already admitted they will not be voting for him. But it is important he is in the running, as it will add a different, more left voice to a debate that would otherwise have been between three MPs all looking right.

But who exactly is Jeremy Corbyn?

His is not a well-known name in politics, despite having represented his constituency of Islington North since 1983. There, he has done remarkable well - in this year's election he received 60% of the vote and a 21,000 majority. However, he has remained on the fringes of the party over the last three decades - largely due to the fact he is considered to be on the far left of the party and is also one of Labour's most rebellious MPs (since 1997, Corbyn has defied the whip 610 times).

Clearly not one to toe the line, Corbyn has firmly laid out his opposition to nuclear weapons, austerity and privatisation. He recently went against his party to vote against plans to renew Trident, he was a signatory of a letter to Ed Miliband earlier this year calling for the renationalisation of the railways and going further back, he rather vocally objected to the Iraq war. He even used this latter stance to explain his intention to run for deputy leader in 2006 - though he subsequently backed out as he believed he would not be successful.

Apparently Corbyn has no such qualms this time. Whilst he may not receive votes from MPs, he can expect a good amount of support from regular party members and some trade unions. He is sponsored by UNISON and has previously spoken at various TUC rallies. Being a member of Labour's Socialist Campaign Group will grab him a few extra votes as he appeals to a large minority within the party who are still pushing for a shift back left. In Scotland especially, members may wish for his leadership so the party can try reclaim some of its lost ground.

However, many have criticised his decision to stand.

Within the party, some fear that the hard-left candidate will reduce support for the soft-left candidate - Andy Burnham. Outside the party, Labour have been ridiculed for ignoring the public will by allowing a candidate who is apparently out of touch with voter beliefs (if you accept the result of the election at face value) to stand. This argument has gained particular traction as former leader Ed Miliband has been repeatedly lambasted for being too left, despite backing austerity and blindly accepting that public spending had caused the economic downturn. What else is there to make of a person who, announcing his decision to run, said he would campaign on an "anti-austerity" platform - and actually mean it?

The ballot for Labour's leadership opens on 14th August and closes on 10th September. The winner will be announced two days later, but with 20/1 odds and an uphill battle to face it is all but a certainty the Corbyn will not succeed. But what he will achieve is ensuring the entire debate around the party's leadership, and indeed its future, will not revolve around how far right the party can go whilst still remaining somewhat left of the government.