A host of celebrities 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, pop stars and actors heaped praise on the plans to revitalise the arts following almost a decade of Tory-led governments and budget cuts.
Actor Rob Delaney, rapper MIA, grime artist Saskilla, and singer Jamelia all showed their support for the party at the Theatre Royal Stratford East on Sunday.
At the end of Mr Corbyn’s speech, band Clean Bandit took to the stage and played a selection of hits, including Rather Be and Rockabye. There was also a performance from Emeli Sande.
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 event, 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”.
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.
“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.”
Mr Corbyn continued: “I go around the country doing lots and lots of meetings in lots and lots of places, and I go through what we want to do for education […] and all these things but do you know what gets the biggest resonance?
“When I say we will introduce a ring-fenced pupil arts premium to ensure that every child gets the chance to learn a musical instrument in school irrespective of their parental income.
“It is about making sure our children grow up in a world where they’re not afraid to express themselves, where they’re proud to express themselves.
“That art opportunity for young people is so, so important.”
Mr Corbyn said: “Our government will help to transform our society, will bring about that sense of justice to every part of this country.
“It will invest in the education, the housing and the health that’s needed, it will invest in a green industrial revolution that will help to both protect our planet and create the jobs of the future.
“But it will also invest in the hopes of a new generation.”
He added: “It is through literature, art, music and poetry that we understand not just about what has gone before, but we begin to understand so much about ourselves.”