Jeremy Corbyn on drive to recruit army of volunteers to beat Labour candidate

Jeremy Corbyn is on a drive to recruit hundreds more volunteers for his election campaign, believing he is "neck and neck" with his former party.

The ex-Labour leader is running to be an independent in Islington North, a seat he has held for 40 years.

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He has managed to attract around 200 activists a day to help him canvas in the London constituency, but a source close to him told Sky News that this is "not enough to reach every single person before 4 July".

Mr Corbyn wants to double the number of people on his campaign to compete with Labour's resources and drum up his support.

The source said there has been "some confusion on the doorstep about Jeremy being an independent" with some of those planning to vote for him under the impression he is still part of Sir Keir Starmer's party.

"The conversations on the doorstep make a huge difference," they said.

Mr Corbyn's campaign team fear there is a risk left-wing supporters assume Mr Corbyn's high profile means he will retain his seat easily, despite Labour's lead in the national polls.

However, he is "up against is a massive data machine" - with Labour able to more easily target those who voted for them at the last election, produce leaflets and get the word out on social media, they said.

Mr Corbyn's allies denied conducting a damage limitation exercise and are confident he can retain the seat, saying their early canvassing suggests he is "neck and neck" with the Labour candidate, while the other parties are "miles behind"

"If we get more volunteers out to inform people that Jeremy is standing as an independent, we will win", the source said.

Labour have selected local councillor Praful Nargund as their candidate, who has been out campaigning with the likes of former party leader Neil Kinnock.

The plea for volunteers came on the day Sir Keir launched Labour's manifesto with a promise of "stability over chaos".

The cautious policy document contained none of the big spending commitments that defined Mr Corbyn's time at the helm - when Sir Keir was a leading member of his shadow cabinet.

Stressing how he had changed Labour since taking over from Mr Corbyn, Sir Keir said he was now offering a "serious plan for the future of our country".

But Mr Corbyn hit back today accusing him of "rewriting history" and telling him to "own" his involvement with his leadership.

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In his attempts to distance himself from his old boss, Sir Keir said this week that the Conservatives have built a "Jeremy Corbyn-style manifesto" that will "load everything into the wheelbarrow" without explaining how to pay for it.

Questioned on why he supported his predecessor, Sir Keir told Sky's Beth Rigby on Wednesday night that he was "certain" Labour would lose in 2019 but he "wanted good colleagues to be returned into the Labour Party".

Addressing this claim, Mr Corbyn said: "Well, he never said that to me, at any time. And so I just think rewriting history is no help."

He added: "It shows double standards, shall we say, that he now says he always thought that, but he never said it at the time, or anything about it.

"He was part of the campaign. He and I spoke together at events and I find it actually quite sad.

"Get over it and get on with it. He was in the shadow cabinet, he was at the Clause 5 meeting. Both those meetings unanimously agreed the 2019 manifesto, and he was there."

Mr Corbyn was suspended from the Labour Party and barred from standing for it following his response to an antisemitism report into the party.

The full list of candidates in Islington North are:
Vikas Aggarwal, Lib Dems;
Karen Anne Harries, Conservatives;
Paul Dominic Josling, independent;
Jeremy Corbyn, independent;
Sheridan Kates, Greens;
Praful Nargund, Labour;
Martyn Nelson, Reform.