“Let’s be Happy, Let’s be Hopeful, Above all let’s be Optimistic”
Newly elected Labour Party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, visited the University on Thursday to speak to students about the Party’s voter registration campaign, as well as conducting a brief question and answer session with the 500 strong audience.
Labour estimate that there may be as many as one million voters missing from the electoral register following recent changes to the way people must register to vote.
Speaking to a capacity crowd inside the University’s Great Hall, Mr Corbyn claimed that recent alterations to the voter registration system, meaning that every member of a household must register individually, will see a disproportionate number of Britain’s young and poor fall off the electoral register.
According to Mr Corbyn, “Only 47% of young people voted in the last General Election and many, many more were not even registered to vote because of the individual voter registration laws.”
The 66-year-old identified the need for members of the electorate to register to vote before the 1st of December in order to impact the boundaries of redrawn constituencies that is due to happen before the next General Election. Mr Corbyn said, “The other issue that is serious for our democracy is that the boundaries for the new constituencies, all of which have to be drawn before 2020, are going to be drawn on the basis of the number of people registered on December 1st of this year.”
The current MP for Islington North also touched on a number of other issues in his half-hour speech, notabley stressing the Labour Party’s focus on the importance of education, commenting, “You have to open the door to those opportunities for everyone. Not saddle everyone with massive debts because they have the ambition and the ability to learn and help the rest of our society.”
Speaking to the assembled media after his speech, Mr Corbyn was also questioned about his Party’s stance on the Government’s new PREVENT legislation, which has been introduced at all UK universities, as well as the Labour Party view on the recent junior doctors’ protests. Mr Corbyn said, “I am concerned that the PREVENT scheme may be easily misinterpreted and end up with the fear of people taking up genuine academic research and genuine activates around university campuses. The way we enable people not to involve themselves with extremist activity is in enhancing democracy, participation and respect for each other’s faith and religion.”
“On the issue of junior doctors, I think it is quite disgraceful the way they are being treated. They work very hard studying and then they are confronted with a complete change in their conditions, a loss of earning expectation, and a loss of opportunities. I have met with junior doctors all over the country, they are universally very, very angry with what’s going on and I am completely with them on this.”
Speaking after the event, Jamie Ali, President of LUU Labour Society told The Gryphon, “The event was amazing, but we couldn’t have put it all together without the help of LUU and University site staff. I just hope we can take all this energy and use it to make sure that we’ll see Jeremy elected as our next Labour Prime Minister in 2020”
(Image courtesy of Jack Roberts)
Benjamin Cook & Greg Whitaker