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Jeremy Corbyn's early years as reported in Islington

Jeremy Corbyn in the Image copyright Islington Gazette
Image caption Jeremy Corbyn's choice of dress has been a topic of discussion since 1983

Jeremy Corbyn, the new leader of the opposition, has been Islington North MP for 32 years.

A look through the early press archives shows that his most predictable trait as MP of the north London constituency was to do the unpredictable.

Opinions on his style of dress have never been far away, either.

The first half of his tenure tells of a man sympathetic to controversial causes; of rebellion; and even of the gift of an organic marrow.


1983

Image copyright Islington Gazette
Image caption Conservative MP Terry Dicks called for sanctions against those who did not conform to dress standards

- Mr Corbyn ignores convention for his maiden speech by making controversial statements. He attacks the Conservative government, newspapers and critics of Islington Council and accuses the government of "robbing Islington of £23m in rate support grant [the central government grant given to local authorities which can be used to finance revenue expenditure]".

He says he will speak up continuously for a borough "maligned by the government and the press mercilessly".

- He campaigns for a lorry ban in Islington following an accident in St Paul's Road in which two people were killed and a house seriously damaged.

He tells the Islington Gazette that "there never was a justification for allowing the size and weight of lorries that exist on our roads and there is even less justification with the completion of the M25 for any opposition to a heavy goods vehicle ban throughout London".

Image copyright Islington Gazette
Image caption A marrow was presented to Mr Corbyn in 1990 for being hard-working

1984

- Mr Corbyn is arrested with 100 other anti-apartheid demonstrators outside the South African embassy.

- He is given his first dressing down for scruffy dress in the Commons with Conservative MP Terry Dicks calling for sanctions against those who do not conform to dress standards. Archway residents tell the Islington Gazette they do not mind that he wears an old polo-necked sweater knitted by his mother.

- His surgeries attract the Islington Gazette's attention because he provides tea, TV and toys and sessions for Turkish people with interpreters.

1986

- Asian Times reports he opposes plans to introduce one-person operation on the 43, 149 and 279 bus routes. He says: "One-person operation is mad. It will make it very difficult for frail and elderly people to get on the bus."

Image copyright Hampstead and Highgate Express
Image caption Jeremy Corbyn received threats from General Pinochet's supporters and criticism from some for the attention he gave to international issues

1987

- He receives £250 for wrongfully being arrested outside the South African embassy.

- The hiring of Ronan Bennett - convicted in 1975 for the murder of an Ulster police inspector - as Mr Corbyn's Commons researcher attracts condemnation and raises the issue of security clearance for Commons staff. Mr Bennett's sentence had been quashed on appeal after he served 13 months in prison. [He is now a high profile author and screenwriter, and a murder inquiry was reopened in 2011.]

1988

- More complaints about Mr Corbyn's dress. Conservative MP Richard Holt complains to the Speaker that he is allowed to debate despite not being "properly attired" in a collar and tie. Mr Corbyn tells the Islington Gazette: "Frankly I am not interested in what Tory MPs think of what I wear."


1990

- A letter to the Islington Gazette criticises the time Mr Corbyn spends on international cases. A resident says he is more interested in Central America and Chile than the closure of Twelve Trees residential home.

- He is presented with an organically-grown marrow at Gillespie Park summer fair. Ninka Shepherd who grew it remarks that "he always answers all his letters and [is] one of the most hard-working MPs in Parliament".

- Sending his son Ben to a private Montessori nursery courts criticism. He tells the Chronicle he has no choice because only children with poor parents get a place in a council-run nursery and with his MP salary it rules him out.

1991

- He appears at Highbury Magistrates' Court for not paying his poll tax bill of £481. Sixteen other residents join him, all opposing the levy on grounds other than inability to pay.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Mr Corbyn appeared in court for refusing to pay his poll tax bill in 1991

He tells the Times: "I am here today because thousands of people who elected me just cannot afford to pay."

1993

- On BBC Radio 4's PM programme he criticises Labour leader John Smith for "failing to articulate the views of the mass of the people".

Islington Labour councillor Greg Hayman tells the Islington Gazette: "It is typical of Jeremy to put the boot into the leadership when John Smith is 20 points ahead in the opinion polls."

1996

- He campaigns for a third inquest to be held into the death of Leon Patterson from Islington, found dead in a police cell in Greater Manchester in 1992.

1999

- The decision over where Mr Corbyn and Claudia Bracchitta's son Ben is to be schooled prompts accusations of hypocrisy.

Ms Bracchitta tells the Observer: "I couldn't send Ben to a school where I knew he wouldn't be happy. Whereas Jeremy was able to make one sort of decision, I wasn't."

The Observer reports that by its GCSE results, Islington is the third worst education authority in the country; while Holloway, where Ben was offered a place, is on the list of failing schools.


2000

- Seventeen years into his job he warns that Labour lost the local council election because "there was a perception they were not delivering quality of service".

- He tells the Highbury and Islington Express: "I remember when Arsenal won the cup at Wembley in 1998 and I missed a goal. I asked the man next to me who scored and he said, 'Marc Overmars. Now, Mr Corbyn, what is happening with my plumbing?'"


Thanks to Islington Heritage Centre.

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