Around 1,500 people last night attended a short-notice Momentum rally in London to show their support for Jeremy Corbyn, as a key ally of the leader told the crowd that “our will will not be broken”.
Shadow Cabinet members Jon Trickett and Diane Abbott were among the speakers addressing the latest event intended to show the weight of backing for Corbyn. Despite the all-ticket rally only being advertised by Momentum the day before, the level of demand led to hundreds of extra seats being added on the day.
Corbyn himself had been scheduled to speak at the rally, but decided against attending in the wake of the publication of the Chilcot Report. Following his apology for the Iraq War on behalf of the Labour Party earlier in the evening, a spokesperson for Corbyn said that he “decided that it would be more appropriate this evening to speak to those who have been affected by the Iraq War who have got in touch.”
Trickett, who is now shadow Business Secretary and Shadow Lord President of the Council, said that after Chilcot “our party must never again be led by someone who is unrepentant in their record supporting war”.
He hit out at the attempt by Labour MPs to remove Corbyn as “an illegitimate removal of a popular leader by an elite group”. “We do want unity in our party, but our will will not be broken,” he said.
Trickett is also tasked with organising the party’s electoral strategy as Labour’s campaigns and elections chair – a role which gives him greater control than the co-ordinator position he was handed earlier this year. He stressed that the show of support for Corbyn was important for the party’s chances at the ballot boxes, as “leaders without movements can’t succeed”. “Have no doubt,” he said, “together we can win.”
Momentum also used last night’s event, which was held in the Troxy in East London, to launch a text donate button for the group – which it claims has already raised over £2,000. Other speakers included NEC candidates Rhea Wolfson and Christine Shawcroft, Momentum founder Jon Lansman and Fire Brigades’ Union General Secretary Matt Wrack.