Jeremy Corbyn’s election surge down to young voters

9 Jun

Jeremy Corbyn’s shock surge to gain seats for Labour may in part be down to a surprise backing from young people, and the musicians they listen to.

Grime artists like Stormzy and JME threw their weight behind the Labour leader as did rappers like Professor Green, forming an unlikely network of supporters. 

And as Corbyn becomes a favourite to become Prime Minister, in a rainbow coalition, the backing that once looked like a bizarre scene from the Thick of It could have been part of what clinched it for the Labour leader.

Jeremy Corbyn has held on to his seat with an increased majority, and seems to have caused a spike in turnout in younger voters too

Jeremy Corbyn has held on to his seat with an increased majority, and seems to have caused a spike in turnout in younger voters too

Jeremy Corbyn has held on to his seat with an increased majority, and seems to have caused a spike in turnout in younger voters too

In the month after Theresa May called a snap election, a record number of people registered to vote. 

Included in the 622,398 new voters registering for the first time were 453,000 aged between 18 and 34. 

It comes despite reports of students up and down the country being told they could not vote when they arrived at polling stations although they had registered. 

Some polling station operatives were given old copies of registered voters, from 2015, instead of this year’s list. 

Turnout is on the rise, with some seats reporting levels as high as 79 per cent, and with the national picture likely to return to 70 per cent, pre-1997 levels, after years of decline. 

Jme with Jeremy Corbyn earlier this year as artists from the grime scene began to throw their weight behind the Labour leader

Jme with Jeremy Corbyn earlier this year as artists from the grime scene began to throw their weight behind the Labour leader

Jme with Jeremy Corbyn earlier this year as artists from the grime scene began to throw their weight behind the Labour leader

But in May 2015’s election, the rising rate of turnout was not matched evenly by young people. There was a turnout of just 43 per cent in those aged 16 to 24, compared with 66.1 per cent overall. 

Speculation over how the young person vote could change the election result has been rife, but many have concluded that even will full turnout there would not be enough young people to give Corbyn the lead he needs to form a government.

Vince Cable, who managed to regain his lost Twickenham seat from the Conservatives, told the Independent: ‘We’ve all underestimated the force of the younger generation. Mr Corbyn, to his credit, understood that.’ 

Corbyn has won unlikely backing from grime artists like JME and Stormzy, and been praised for listening to young people

Corbyn has won unlikely backing from grime artists like JME and Stormzy, and been praised for listening to young people

Corbyn has won unlikely backing from grime artists like JME and Stormzy, and been praised for listening to young people

In Newcastle, ballot box assistants were given the old register for the electorate from the 2015 election

In Newcastle, ballot box assistants were given the old register for the electorate from the 2015 election

In Newcastle, ballot box assistants were given the old register for the electorate from the 2015 election

A number of young adults in London were told they were not on the register, despite having confirmation emails confirming their eligibility to vote.

And in Newcastle, ballot box assistants were given the old register for the electorate from the 2015 election.

Christina Demetriou, 18, registered to vote in her Finchley and Golders Green constituency  – which has been tipped for a Labour gain.

She received her confirmation email at 8.57pm on May 21 – the day before the deadline to register.

But when she turned up to vote for the first time yesterday, she was refused. 

A number of young adults in London were told they were not on the register, despite having confirmation emails confirming their eligibility to vote

A number of young adults in London were told they were not on the register, despite having confirmation emails confirming their eligibility to vote

A number of young adults in London were told they were not on the register, despite having confirmation emails confirming their eligibility to vote

The student told The Telegraph: ‘When I arrived at the polling station they said I wasn’t on the list and that there was nothing that they could do and that others had come that had been affected in the same way.

‘I returned to the polling station with my confirmation email in hand and was told others had come with theirs too, but (they said) “our job is not to second guess the registration system, only to insure that those eligible to vote, get to vote”.

‘It’s just really shocking.’

Meanwhile, in the Newcastle-under-Lyme constituency – where many of the voters are students – people who had just registered for this election were being turned away because staff were given an old list.

The seat is held by Labour, but it is marginal with only a 700 majority and Jeremy Corbyn’s party hope to increase it with the student vote.

Students at Keele University received their polling cards but were told they were not on the register.

However, once the blunder was recognised there was an urgent call for them to return to the polling stations with one hour left of voting. 

Students at Keele University received their polling cards but were told they were not on the register

Students at Keele University received their polling cards but were told they were not on the register

Students at Keele University received their polling cards but were told they were not on the register

A post of a Keele Facebook page read: ‘VERY URGENT: from a colleague: I have been alerted to the fact that a great many Keele students are being turned away from polling stations in the Newcastle-under-Lyme area, even with polling cards. 

‘I rang Newcastle Borough Council and they have informed me that the students may be late additions to the electoral register and thus not on the registers sent out to polling stations. 

‘Can you please send out a message to our students informing them that if this is the case, they need to go back to the polling stations with their polling cards and ask to speak to the presiding officer. They should tell them to ring the elections office to check that they are on the most up-to-date version. 

‘Whichever polling station you go to, the presiding officer should have an out-of-hours number to check whether you are a late addition to the electoral register.’ 

Malia Bouattia, president of the National Union of Students, said: ‘Students will be disappointed to have not been able to vote today.

‘Everyone deserves to be able to express their democratic right to choose the leaders of the country they live in.

‘This isn’t the first time an incident like this has happened, and yet nothing has been learnt. We need a democratic system that enables everyone to have their voices heard.’ 

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