Jeremy Corbyn to “think about” running for London mayor

8/9/2023 12:10 PM

Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has said he may consider running as an independent candidate for Mayor of London.

The Islington North MP said he would 'think about it' when asked the question at an event during the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Should he choose to enter the race, it would create an intriguing contest against Sadiq Khan, London's Muslim mayor.

Corbyn has long been seen as an ally of Muslims; addressing inequality, confronting Islamophobia, and actively speaking out for oppressed Muslim communities around the globe, such as in Palestine and Kashmir.

Islam Channel Eid Gala Dinner in 2019: Corbyn with Islam Channel founder Mohamed Ali Harrath

The London mayoral election is set to take place in May 2024, and Khan has announced his intention to run for a third term.

Corbyn currently serves as an independent for his Islington North constituency, a role he has held since 1983. He became independent after being ousted from the Labour Party earlier this year.

During the weekend event, the 74-year-old was asked whether he would stand as an independent in the next election.

He said: "I'm very happy and very proud to be the MP for Islington North. I live in the area, I know large numbers of people in the area. I have learned a great deal from the people I represent. I am available to represent the people if that is what they wish."  

When asked whether he would stand for mayor, he added: "Well, let's have a think about it, shall we?  

"I want to see change in our society. I'm not disappearing, I'm not going away. I look at my diary and I'm more active than I have ever been at any other time in my life."  

Corbyn's Muslim advocacy  

Corbyn has been a vocal supporter of anti-discrimination measures and consistently condemned Islamophobia. He has actively campaigned for the rights of Muslim communities and emphasised the importance of religious freedom and cultural diversity.

Corbyn regularly engages with various Muslim communities and attends events, especially in his local community of Finsbury.

Championing Muslim issues in his community has put him in the crosshairs of far-right extremists — he was attacked in a mosque by a far-right extremist and the Finsbury Park terrorist Darren Osborne said he wanted to target Corbyn.

Islam Channel Eid Gala Dinner in 2019: Corbyn with Sir Iqbal Sacranie

Muslim voters traditionally support the Labour Party — constituencies with large Muslim populations were often seen as safe seats.

But since Jeremy Corbyn's leadership ended — and amid Labour's move to the right in domestic and foreign policy — that long-standing connection is being tested. Starmer's willingness to tackle Islamophobia in the party has also come into question.  

Last year, the long-awaited Forde report made some damning claims about Labour not tackling Islamophobia and racism within the party. Commissioned by Starmer, the report concluded there are "serious problems of discrimination in the party."  

One of the issues it highlighted was claims that Labour is undermining Islamophobia and anti-black racism by operating a "hierarchy of racism."