Pop stars and film makers rally behind Corbyn’s ‘last stand’

By Patrick Daly and Caitlin Doherty, PA Staff

Pop stars and actors have rallied behind Jeremy Corbyn’s bid for Number 10, calling him the “last stand” for England.

At an event in east London to unveil Labour’s arts manifesto, stars heaped praise on the plans to revitalise the arts following almost a decade of Tory-led governments and budget cuts.

Singer and hip-hop performer MIA said, should Mr Corbyn fail in his endeavour to become prime minister, that it would be “very hard” to find another candidate who was “not corrupted” to replace him as leader of the opposition.

Speaking at the Theatre Royal Stratford East on Sunday, the Paper Planes singer said she was “grateful that someone like Jeremy Corbyn is running”, describing him as “the last stand that England has got”.

Discussing the possibility of Mr Corbyn standing down if Labour loses next month’s election, the rapper added: “To get someone with such a track record is going to be impossible.

“It’s going to be very hard to find people who are not corrupted in some sort of way.”

Filmmaker Ken Loach, who directed the Bafta-winning film I, Daniel Blake, said the left-wing party’s plan for the arts was “transformative”.

MIA on stage at the Theatre Royal Stratford East (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

He said Labour was offering a “way into a world that will be new and exciting”.

In a rallying call to supporters, Mr Loach said Labour faced the “fight of our lives” against the “public school bluster” of the Tories during the remaining two-and-a-half weeks of the campaign.

He added: “We fight… for those who don’t want to live in an unequal society.

“Not only for those who live on a zero hours contract, but those who are ashamed to live in a country with food banks.”

Addressing the crowd, Mr Corbyn said: “I love the arts, I love theatre, I love art, music, I love the inspiration that it brings to all our lives.

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn announces the party’s plans for an ‘arts manifesto’ (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

“Arts, music and culture are not separate from science, engineering and ideas.

“You need that inspiration in whatever you do.

“Our arts policy is to create a £1 billion arts fund, and that will ensure that the libraries, theatres, and the local arts facilities are improved and remain available for all.”

Referring to Boris Johnson’s decision to reveal his Conservative manifesto pledges in Telford, near to where Mr Corbyn grew up, the Islington North MP joked: “Are they trying to insult me or something?

“Telford will rise again, they’ll get over it.”