Mobilising of black voters could have proved key in south west London constituencies

Jeremy Corbyn harnessed public support to increase the Labour Party’s number of seats by 30 at last week’s general election.

Theresa May managed to remain prime minister and is finalising an agreement with Northern Ireland’s DUP to form a government, but the extent of the swing towards Labour, particularly in London, shocked many observers and energised the party.

Labour was just 2,227 votes away from winning another seven Conservatives seats, which could well have put Mr Corbyn in touching distance of Downing Street.

With Labour gaining three formerly Conservative seats in south west London, it is thought that a key factor in the party’s success here was due to the contribution of Operational Black Vote, which had a strong focus on key marginal Croydon Central in the run up to the election.

OBV, which was active in encouraging Croydon Central residents to register and vote, prides itself as an organisation which advocates for greater racial justice and equality throughout the UK.

Spokesman Simon Wooley, who was delighted with the high turnout in the election, said: “It’s fair to say that black voters came out in larger numbers, and it shows.”

Corbyn’s policies, which include scrapping tuition fees and ending zero-hour contracts were factors in UK artists following the Grime4Corbyn campaign, which encouraged the young and voters from ethnic minorities or poor backgrounds, as well as grime lovers, to vote Labour.

Croydon-born Grime artist Stormzy also supported the 68-year-old Labour leader.

Mr Wooley said: “It seems many more felt positively towards Corbyn, for the following reasons – he made a very big deal about racial equality, and more people are afraid of the worst aspects of Brexit.

“75% who voted to remain were black , and all factors come into play at last week elections.

“I think members need learn no party can take black vote for granted.”

The Conservative candidate for Croydon North Samuel Kasumu also focused on racial inequality in his campaign, setting up an agency, Inclusive Boards, designed to support the the hiring of BAME people at board level in the public sector.

Mr Kasumu lost to Labour MP Steve Reed by a colossal 32,365 votes.

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