WION Web TeamDelhi, IndiaJun 09, 2017, 07.08 AM (IST)Zeba Khan
UK Elections 2017 has been a tight race between the Conservatives and Labour party candidates. While PM Theresa May was sure of making it to the finished line with a majority, Jeremy Corbyn has managed to pull a masterstroke.
Jeremy Bernard Corbyn, 68, the grand old man of British politics had a different game plan from the beginning. His policies and the Labour party's manifesto stood its ground on local and domestic issues that made a connect with the British citizens. Corbyn was able to shave off Theresa May's lead in the popularity polls in the last two weeks. His focus on education, security, income tax and importantly his stance on Brexit clearly touched a chord while May and her party did not have a solid post-Brexit roadmap for UK citizens.
Corbyn has served as Leader of the Labour Party and Leader of the Opposition since 12 September 2015. He was born in Chippenham and is the youngest of the four sons in the family.
Always a crusader, while still in school, he became active in The Wrekin constituency Young Socialists, his local Labour Party, and the League Against Cruel Sports.
He joined the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) in 1966 whilst at school and later became one of its three vice-chairs.
Corbyn has consistently spoken for Britain to remain as an EU member but after the referendum result, Corbyn over the last two weeks of campaigning has maintained that the “result must be respected” and a "close new relationship with the EU" should be targeted. He said that one of his first acts as Britain's prime minister would be to call German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron to chalk out a plan for Brexit. He also promised to guarantee the rights of EU citizens based in the UK while rejecting the idea of 'no deal' in EU negotiations.
What also added to his popularity is his commitment to education and providing for the youth by announcing the scrapping of tuition fees for universities. He also announced the scrapping of upfront costs for colleges and further education courses while reintroducing maintenance grants for students. He also wooed new mothers by plugging the gap in childcare after maternity leave helping them to come back to work with the aid of National Education Service.
In the wake of London Bridge terror attacks, both May and Corbyn differ on opinions. Corbyn chose to not support counter-terrorism legislation as a parliamentarian. He promised to reverse the cutting of around 20,000 police officers since 2010. He also vowed his support for Trident, that is UK’s Vanguard fleet of submarines carrying nuclear missiles. Corbyn has however been a strong opponent of nuclear weapons.
Motivated to ensure that the national debt is reduced, Corbyn in his party’s manifesto looked to raise tax revenues from the top earners in the country. For those earning above £80,000 ($103,544), income tax rate would increase 45 per cent for earnings above the amount and then to 50 pence in each pound for people with an income of more than £123,000.
Before Trump had withdrawn from the Paris climate accord and talks were still on, Corbyn spoke about calling US President Donald Trump and urging him to not withdraw from the accord. He continuously criticised May’s approach in dealing with Trump calling it "dereliction of duty" when she failed to sign a joint statement with other EU leaders condemning the US administration.
Corbyn identifies himself as an anti-war activist. In October 2001, Corbyn was elected to the steering committee of the Stop the War Coalition, which was formed to oppose the Afghanistan War. He also opposed the Iraq War in 2003 and spoke at anti-war rallies in Britain and overseas. He helped organise the February anti-Iraq War protest which was claimed to be the largest such protest in British political history. In 2006, Corbyn was one of 12 Labour MPs to support Plaid Cymru and the Scottish National Party's call for a parliamentary inquiry into the Iraq War.