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Jeremy Corbyn elected to lead Labour Party

Nick Duffy September 12, 2015

Left-winger Jeremy Corbyn has been elected to lead the UK’s Labour Party.

Mr Corbyn, who was one of the country’s first MPs to vote in favour of gay equality, beat three rivals to replace Ed Miliband as Labour leader, despite starting the race as an outsider.

He saw off competition from Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper, former Health Secretary Andy Burnham, and perceived Blairite candidate Liz Kendall – all of whom have also pledged their support for LGBT rights.

Mr Corbyn received a surprising 251,417 out of a possible 554,272 – winning outright in the first round with 59.5% of the vote.

Joking about his relationship with his three rivals, Mr Corbyn said: “We’re going to reform ourselves as an ABBA tribute band.”

Speaking to PinkNews previously, Mr Corbyn pledged to take a tough approach on global LGBT rights.

He said: “In the case of the most extreme countries, such as Uganda, I think we’ve got to be far tougher with them. Indeed, I’ve had meetings with Ugandan delegations and ministers that have been quite difficult, to say the least.”

Asked whether he would be willing to prioritise LGBT rights at risk of harming diplomatic ties, he said: “Yes, you have to. There are various stages by which you can do it.

“For example, countries that have trade agreements with the EU – all EU trade agreements have a human rights clause.

“Many of those countries have knowingly signed trade agreements. It is a question of enforcing those human rights clauses, which can.”

He has also said he plans to bring same-sex marriage to Northern Ireland, despite it being repeatedly blocked by the Democratic Unionist Party in the country’s devolved assembly.

The MP said: “I would want, and I hope this can be agreed, an extension of the equalities legislation that we received in the UK Parliament to all parts of the UK. That is my position, I feel very very strongly about that.

“I realise there are sensitivities, I realise people don’t always agree with that – I’ve been to many debates in my own constituency on it – but if you engage in an open and honest debate, you can make progress on it.”

Despite being an unfailing supporter of LGBT rights across his three decades in Parliament, the MP for Islington North has faced some scrutiny during the contest for sharing platforms with some homophobic groups and individuals.

Yvette Cooper claimed Mr Corbyn has ‘legitimised’ anti-Semitic and homophobic extremists by sharing a platform with them, at events surrounding the Middle East.

She said: “There are some people who have quite extreme views. Homophobic, pushing homophobic abuse and pushing extremist abuse who I don’t think you should give legitimacy to by inviting to public meetings.

“We have a different judgement on it… this is the Labour Party, we have always been very clear about our values and what it is we stand up for and therefore it’s important the leader of the Labour Party is projecting the right values and support as well.”

He hit back: “I have met people in the context of discussions about the Middle East with whom I profoundly disagree. I have met representatives of the Iranian government with whom I profoundly disagree with on the human rights issues.”

“My point is, if you’re to bring about a long-term peace process in the Middle East, you have to recognise that… you’ve got to talk to people you don’t like, don’t agree with, don’t particularly want to be in power, but you have to recognise they have a degree of support, and move on there. What’s the alternative, continuing the war?”

 

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