LONDON — Jeremy Corbyn received a standing ovation from his Labour Party colleagues when he entered the House of Commons on Tuesday afternoon for the first time since the general election.
Corbyn — whose Labour Party on Thursday night defied the polls and all expectations to gain 30 seats and force a hung parliament as a result — was welcomed to Parliament by the applause and cheers of Labour MPs.
Many Labour MPs feared Corbyn was leading Labour to electoral oblivion when Prime Minister Theresa May called an early general election in April. Opinion polls conducted in the weeks leading up to the election gave the Tories leads of up to 20% over Corbyn’s Labour, while May’s personal approval ratings were streets ahead of Corbyn’s.
However, Labour won 40% of the national vote, and made enough gains to rob May of a parliamentary majority.
The sight of Corbyn being welcomed back to Parliament like a hero was a far cry from the divided Labour Party we have witnessed under his leadership since he was first elected in September 2015.
Numerous Labour MPs who in the past criticised Corbyn have since Thursday’s shock result admitted underestimating the Islington North MP’s leadership. “He’s confounded those expectations,” Labour MP and the party’s former deputy leader Harriet Harman told BBC Radio 4 on Tuesday morning.
“Just as, if we’d have lost seats under his leadership, he would have had to take responsibility, we’ve gained seats under his leadership, and he can take the credit for that.”
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