Oxford University’s Labour Club has been praised this week for “contributing to the national conversation”, after it helped persuade Oxford East MP Andrew Smith to nominate Jeremy Corbyn for party leader.
Andrew Smith was the 35th Labour MP to nominate Corbyn, making his support crucial for getting the left-wing candidate onto the national leadership ballot.
Smith told The Oxford Student that although his decision to nominate Corbyn was primarily a result of his own judgement, he “took close account of the points local members and supporters made to [him], and OULC is an important part of that.”
OULC voted to endorse Corbyn at its General Meeting on Thursday evening. The motion, proposed by members James Elliott and Michael Muir, stated that “Mr Corbyn’s lifelong commitment to democratic socialism and peace accords with the views of many members of [OULC],” and that “these views warrant expression in the leadership election.”
Corbyn, MP for Islington North, is widely considered to be on the left of the Labour Party. During the New Labour years he voted against tuition fees, and vocally opposed the Iraq War in 2003. He continues to oppose NHS privatisation.
Labour Party rules require leadership candidates to attain 35 nominations from MPs before they are allowed onto the national ballot. Corbyn attained the required number on Monday morning, only minutes before the deadline, with Andrew Smith’s nomination crucial for pushing Corbyn over the threshold.
OULC co-chair Loughlan O’Doherty commented: “OULC is extremely pleased that Andrew Smith has listened to the voices of students, and that the student voice has contributed to national politics in this way.”
He continued: “Of the candidates for leadership, polls indicate that Jeremy Corbyn has by far the most support among ordinary members.”
A straw poll of LabourList users last week put support for Corbyn among ordinary members on 47 per cent; far ahead of contender Andy Burnham on 13 per cent.
Former OULC co-chair Nikhil Venkatesh also praised OULC’s contribution, telling The OxStu: “This is a great example of how students who choose to engage in politics can effect real change, and also of why Andrew Smith is the sort of MP Oxford students deserve. I hope the Labour Party is strengthened by Corbyn’s participation, and that the case for socialism is made.”
(PHOTO: OULC Twitter)