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Jeremy Corbyn beats Labour to win Islington North in headache for Keir Starmer

Jeremy Corbyn has won re-election as an independent MP, in an election night headache for Sir Keir Starmer.

The contest for Islington North, between the former Labour leader and local Labour councillor Praful Nargund, proved to be one of the most unpredictable election battles of the General Election.

Mr Corbyn won the seat with 24,120 votes. Labour came second with 16,973.

He has represented Islington North since 1983, enjoying a healthy majority of 26,188 in the 2019 General Election, but was suspended from the Labour Party in 2020 over his response to a report on anti-Semitism in the party under his leadership.

It was a nail biting night in the north London seat, after the exit poll indicated the seat was too close to call.

A recent YouGov poll had indicated Mr Corbyn was likely to lose his seat with 38 per cent of the vote compared to Mr Nargund’s 43 per cent.

But Team Corbyn had launched an eleventh hour push, with activists flocking to the seat on Wednesday night for a rally.

The former Labour leader’s victory is a rare upset on otherwise jubilant night for the party, and could pose a headache for Sir Keir, of whom Mr Corbyn has repeatedly been critical.

He is likely to be a rallying point for the left of the Labour Party, within Parliament and outside of it.

Mr Corbyn was suspended from the Labour Party in October 2020 over his response to a report into anti-Semitism in the party.

Under his leadership, the Labour Party was plagued with allegations of anti-Semitism. In October 2020, the Equalities and Human Rights Commission published a report saying Labour had broken the law.

In response to the report, Mr Corbyn said that anti-Semitism was “absolutely abhorrent” but claimed that the scale of the problem was “exaggerated” and “dramatically overstated for political reasons”.

The 75-year-old was suspended shortly after the comments. His suspension was lifted the following month, but the whip was not restored.

At a bustling tennis centre in north London, Mr Corbyn – wearing a green suit, white shirt, socks and sandals and a white rosette as opposed to the red he has sported for decades – looked relaxed as he chatted to activists and observed the counting of ballots.

Outside of Islington North, the Labour Party have made sweeping gains, with the exit poll indicating that they are set to secure a landslide victory.

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