Despite intra-party dissonance, support for the UK Labour Party has surged since election of leader Jeremy Corbyn
Students at the United Kingdom’s prestigious Cambridge University on Monday were told that as “the top one percent,” they must rebel against the progressive policies of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and take back the party.
The comments were delivered by Labour Party MP Tristram Hunt, who formerly served as the shadow education secretary until resigning in the wake of Corbyn’s electoral victory.
“You are the top one per cent,” Hunt told an audience of students and members of the Cambridge Universities Labour Club. “The Labour Party is in the shit. It is your job and your responsibility to take leadership going forward.”
University paper The Varsity reports, “When asked about Corbyn’s leadership, Hunt replied that ’60 percent of members voted for Corbyn’ and that he ‘is the leader until he is not.'”
“The way you serve the Corbyn leadership is to be as dissenting and creative as possible,” he added.
Hunt, who is identified as a member of the “Blairite” branch of the Labour Party, was one of 21 MPs who defied Corbyn’s anti-austerity agenda by refusing to vote against a new Fiscal Charter. He has also backed calls for greater cuts to welfare programs.
Hunt’s comments highlight the schism that has erupted within the Labour Party between the more elitist branch and those who have supported Corbyn’s populist ideals.
However, as noted in Jacobin on Monday, Corbyn’s rise to power has brought a surge in party membership, growing to “nearly twice the size it was at the general election in May, with around sixty thousand people joining in the week following Corbyn’s victory on a platform of opposition to austerity economics, foreign wars, welfare cuts, and nuclear weaponry.”