Shropshire History

Jeremy Corbyn


to Index


Jeremy Corbyn was born in 1949 at Chippenham and brought up in Kington St Michael. He is the youngest of the four sons of Naomi Josling and David Corbyn, an electrical engineer. His parents were peace campaigners who met in the 1930s at a committee meeting in support of the Spanish Republic at Conway Hall during the Spanish Civil War. When Corbyn was seven years old, the family moved to Pave Lane near Newport, where his father bought Yew Tree Manor. Corbyn was educated at Castle House Preparatory School near Newport, before attending Adams' Grammar School as a day student. While still at school, he became active in The Wrekin constituency Young Socialists, his local Labour Party, League Against Cruel Sports and Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. He obtained two A-Levels before leaving school at 18. After school, Corbyn worked briefly as a reporter for the Newport and Market Drayton Advertiser and then spent two years doing Voluntary Service Overseas in Jamaica.

Full details of his subsequent career can be seen at Wikipedia. Returning to the UK in 1971, he worked as an official for the National Union of Tailors and Garment Workers, then as a trade union organiser for the National Union of Public Employees and Amalgamated Engineering and Electrical Union. In the 1975 European Communities referendum, Corbyn opposed Britain's membership of the Common Market. He was appointed as a member of a district health authority and in early 1974, at the age of 24, was elected to Haringey Council in South Hornsey ward. After boundary changes in 1978, he was re-elected in Harringay ward as councillor, remaining so until 1983. As a delegate from Hornsey to the Labour Party conference in 1978, Corbyn successfully moved a motion calling for dentists to be employed by the NHS rather than private contractors. Corbyn became the local Labour Party's agent and organiser, having responsibility for the 1979 general election campaign in Hornsey. In the July 1982 edition of London Labour Briefing, Corbyn opposed expulsions of the Militant Tendency from the Labour Party.

At the 1983 general election, he was elected Member of Parliament for Islington North. Shortly after being elected to parliament, he began writing a weekly column for the Morning Star, saying that "the Star is the most precious and only voice we have in the daily media". In 1984, he was accused by Conservative MP Terry Dicks of being  scruffy (he was known for wearing open-necked shirts to the Commons). Corbyn replied that: "It's not a fashion parade, it's not a gentleman's club, it's not a bankers' institute, it's a place where the people are represented". Corbyn was a campaigner against apartheid in South Africa, serving on the National Executive of the Anti-Apartheid Movement, and was arrested in 1984 while demonstrating outside South Africa House. He was criticised for inviting Gerry Adams and other members of Sinn Fein to the Palace of Westminster in 1984, weeks after the Brighton hotel bombing by the IRA, which killed five people.

In 2015, Corbyn was the surprise winner in the Labour Party leadership contest. He was unpopular with many Labour MPs for his left-wing views and in 2016 there was a mass resignation of shadow cabinet members. They demanded that he stand down but he refused and a Motion of No Confidence was passed by the Parliamentary Labour Party. In the subsequent leadership election contest, he won again due to support from local activists. Corbyn lives in Islington with his wife Laura Alvarez.