Katy Balls Katy Balls

Corbyn’s plan to cause trouble for Sir Keir

Earlier this summer, a hundred or so Londoners gathered around a solar-powered stage truck at Highbury Fields to celebrate 40 years of Jeremy Corbyn in parliament. There was music, magic tricks and merriment. Attendees were encouraged to party like it was 2017. The opening act sang: ‘Jezza and me, we agree, we’re all for peace and justice and anti-austerity. We’re voting Jeremy Corbyn, JC for MP for me.’

Left-wing voters, tired of Starmer’s move to the right, might vote Green, independent or not vote at all

For those in the Labour party watching from afar, this wasn’t just a celebration – it was the soft launch of Corbyn’s campaign to be the independent MP for Islington North. Just how many constituents will vote for him as an independent remains to be seen, but he can still inspire party-goers.

The villain of the day wasn’t Rishi Sunak, but Sir Keir Starmer. When Starmer was mentioned by a speaker – who described him as lying, self-interested and opportunistic – the audience booed and jeered. This dynamic represents a risk to Labour beyond the specific political ecosystem of north London. Left-wing voters, tired of Starmer’s move to the right, might in the next election vote Green, independent or not vote at all.

Corbyn, 74, has made little secret of the fact he wants to stay in politics. At an Edinburgh Fringe event this week (where he appeared alongside his old mate Red Len), he told the audience that he was ‘available to represent the people if that is what they wish’. He even refused to rule out running for London mayor: ‘Well let’s have a think about it, shall we?’

‘Take plenty of photos so we can show him where he’s been when he gets back.’

Few believe that Corbyn will really go so far as to try the Ken Livingstone route and join the mayoral race as an independent.

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