UK Politics

Reggae band UB40 endorse Jeremy Corbyn

Jeremy Corbyn and UB40 Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Jeremy Corbyn held a joint press conference with members of UB40

British reggae band UB40 have praised Jeremy Corbyn as an "incorruptible politician" who will put working people first as they backed his campaign to remain as Labour leader.

The group, who have sold 70 million records, said Mr Corbyn had inspired young people and offered a "believable" alternative to business as usual.

Other celebrity backers for Mr Corbyn include singer Lily Allen.

But best-selling Harry Potter author JK Rowling has called him a lousy leader.

Mr Corbyn is being challenged for the leadership by Owen Smith. The result of the election will be announced on 24 September.

The Labour leader, who has said he wants the arts to be a priority for the next Labour government, has received a number of celebrity endorsements in recent weeks.

'Engaged and inspired'

Birmingham-based UB40, named after the then government's unemployment benefit form, were one of the most successful British groups of the 1980s and 1990s, notching up 50 hit singles - among them the chart toppers Red Red Wine, Can't Help Falling in Love and I Got You Babe.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Mr Corbyn has offered to meet JK Rowling after she described him as a lousy leader

Although three members of the original line-up have left in recent years, sparking a legal dispute over the use of the band's name, the remaining members led by guitarist and vocalist Robin Campbell have endorsed Mr Corbyn.

"Jeremy has re-ignited an interest in politics for people who no longer felt included, and engaged and inspired a new generation of young voters who, for the first time, believe that they have an incorruptible politician who truly represents them," Mr Campbell said.

Drummer Jimmy Brown said Mr Corbyn was the only frontline politician "willing to speak up for working people who have been badly treated by successive governments, including New Labour, in recent decades".

But another 1980s music star mocked the celebrity endorsement, with Simply Red's Mick Hucknall tweeting: "Jeremy Corbyn has much in common with UB40. They are currently as divided as his Labour Party."

Enduring

Mr Corbyn, who is opposed by the majority of his MPs and lost a vote of no confidence after the EU referendum, welcomed the band's backing ahead of a joint appearance on Tuesday.

"UB40's story was and remains inspiring; people from across cultures and backgrounds coming together and combining their talents - in a time when prejudice was more prevalent - and creativity to produce music that has endured across decades," he said.

As part of his arts manifesto released last month, Mr Corbyn pledged that all primary schools in England would get extra cash to fund arts activities and a single national scheme for arts scholarships would be set up.

The Labour leader told the Guardian on Monday he would be happy to meet JK Rowling to discuss their differences after she said he was taking the party in the wrong decision.

Her suggestion that Mr Corbyn risked destroying Labour and that the poorest in society need an "electable" alternative to the Conservatives not "mouthy, impotent socialism" provoked an angry response from Corbyn backers on social media.

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