Two Months In, The New Way of Doing Politics Jeremy Corbyn Stands for Is Shifting the Political Landscape

12 Nov 2015
On 12 September, I attended the packed Labour Party Special Conference to see the announcement of Jeremy Corbyn's resounding victory in the Labour Party leadership election with more than 251,000 of 422,000 votes.

As John Prescott commented at the time, "the party gave an overwhelming endorsement to this man" who "got more votes than Tony Blair."

Two months on - and despite much media coverage being relentlessly anti-Jeremy - we can see that the new way of doing politics Jeremy stands for is starting to shift the political landscape in Britain, shaking the Government on key issues (most notably cuts to working families' tax credits) and bringing new support to the Labour Party.

The key to these successes has been a new approach to opposition to the Government - reflecting the wish expressed in Jeremy's landslide victory this summer for a clearer, stronger opposition to ideologically-driven austerity measures from the Conservative Government that attack people's living standards and threaten the economy's fragile growth.

The most obvious of these issues has been on the issue of tax credits, with Jeremy continually taking the opportunity to question David Cameron on this matter of how many people will be worse off due to the policy changes, and the Labour teams in the House of Commons and House of Lords taking the Tories to task.

The defeat the Government suffered in the House of Lords on tax credits was a clear vindication of this clearer stance.

But there have been important achievements in other areas too where Jeremy has made clear his principled stance and Labour has provided a clear opposition to the Tories. From Labour fighting for intervention to save steel, to opposing damaging cuts to the police, a clear agenda is coming forward that can win in the years ahead.

Other new ways of doing things have emphasised how Labour can become the party of public opinion rather than the Westminster bubble. Using questions from members of the public in Prime Minister's Question Time has been effective and popular. Adopting an attitude of working constructively with the movements and campaigns that exist across civil society in Britain against the Tory's devastating cuts agenda will also help strengthen Labour's support. As I have written elsewhere, Labour Party Conference under Jeremy's leadership was a breath of fresh air and extremely positive for the Party. The Party's conference is Scotland also went well.

Indeed, In terms of the Labour Party itself, membership of the Labour Party has practically doubled since May's General Election, mostly due to the entry of Jeremy into the race and then his subsequent election as leader. By October 8, Labour already 370,658 members, our highest total since the days of 1997. Of these, 183,658 joined since May and over 50,000 between 12 September and 8 October. To put this into context, the total number of Conservative members is thought to number around 150,000.

We need to turn this support and enthusiasm into electoral victories in the year ahead - join with us if you want to make Britain a fairer country and return Labour to power in 2020.

* Diane Abbott is the shadow international development secretary and Labour MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington. This article was published at

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