Newspaper article International New York Times

Britain's Labour Party Takes a Hard Left Turn ; Political Outsider Wins Leadership Post, Reflecting Shift from Center Ground

Newspaper article International New York Times

Britain's Labour Party Takes a Hard Left Turn ; Political Outsider Wins Leadership Post, Reflecting Shift from Center Ground

Article excerpt

With the elevation of Mr. Corbyn, the Labour Party is in the hands of the hard left for the first time in decades.

After three decades as a political outsider and clarion of the left, Jeremy Corbyn has won the leadership of Britain's opposition Labour Party with an emphatic victory and a program that includes expanding the economy, scrapping nuclear missiles and dismantling the centrist policies of his predecessors, including former Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Mr. Corbyn, 66, on Saturday won the Labour leadership overwhelmingly with the backing of thousands of newly recruited supporters, and in doing so delivered one of the biggest upsets in modern British politics.

His success underlines the extent to which European political structures have been destabilized by the aftershocks of the financial crisis in 2008, with voters increasingly attracted away from the political center ground, either to the socialist left or the nationalist right.

However, Mr. Corbyn's program, which includes nationalizing energy and rail companies, has shallow support among fellow Labour lawmakers, a fact that suggests he may struggle to unite his party. Several senior party figures, including Emma Reynolds and Tristram Hunt, have already announced that they will not be serving on Mr. Corbyn's team, though another, Hilary Benn, promised to support him.

On Saturday there were jubilant scenes after the release of results showing that Mr. Corbyn had won almost 60 percent of the vote, crushing his three opponents, Yvette Cooper, Andy Burnham and Liz Kendall.

"We don't have to be unequal, it doesn't have to be unfair, poverty isn't inevitable," Mr. Corbyn told a cheering audience in a short acceptance speech.

"Things can change and they will change," he added, denouncing "grotesque" levels of inequality and placing blame for the migration crisis currently sweeping Europe on the bitter legacy of going to war. One of his first acts, Mr. Corbyn said, will be to attend a demonstration in London to highlight the plight of refugees.

Mr. Corbyn's perceived integrity and his willingness to speak his mind have struck a chord in a party in which many supporters were left disillusioned by the leadership of Mr. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.