UK Politics

Labour leadership: Jeremy Corbyn enters race

Jeremy Corbyn
Image caption Mr Corbyn has been the MP for Islington North since 1983

Veteran left-winger Jeremy Corbyn is throwing his hat into the ring to become the next Labour leader.

The 66-year-old MP for Islington North, a fervent anti-war campaigner, told the Islington Tribune he would stand on a "clear anti-austerity platform".

He joins Yvette Cooper, Andy Burnham, Mary Creagh and Liz Kendall in the race to succeed Ed Miliband.

Candidates require support from at least 35 Labour MPs in order to make the final leadership ballot.

Speaking to the BBC, Mr Corbyn said the "first hurdle" would be meeting the threshold, saying it was "unfortunate" the nominating process was restricted to MPs.

'Overwhelming call'

Mr Burnham, shadow health secretary, and shadow care minister Liz Kendall have received the required number of nominations.

Shadow home secretary Ms Cooper and shadow environment secretary Ms Creagh, a constituent of Mr Corbyn's, have yet to reach the target.

The winner of the contest will be announced before the party's annual conference, in September.

Announcing his candidacy, Mr Corbyn, a vocal campaigner against war and nuclear weapons, said: "This decision to stand is in response to an overwhelming call by Labour Party members who want to see a broader range of candidates and a thorough debate about the future of the party.

"I am standing to give Labour Party members a voice in this debate."

'Left candidate'

Mr Corbyn told BBC Radio 4's The World Tonight he wished the leadership contest had been delayed "so we could have had a policy debate for quite some time to sort out the direction we want to go".

The MP said none of the other candidates in the leadership race had addressed the "essential problem" that austerity would have continued had Labour come to power.

"We have to be saying that the poorest in this country have suffered a great deal due to austerity, we have great inequality than ever before.

"It's up to Labour to restore that balance," he told the programme.

Labour MP John McDonnell said in a tweet that Mr Corbyn would be the "left candidate" in the contest.

"Everyone contact Labour MPs to put him on ballot paper," he added.

Mr Corbyn has represented Islington North in London since 1983.

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