Jeremy Corbyn receives standing ovation as he returns to House of Commons

Labour leader's popularity surges after stronger-than-expected showing at election

Jon Sharman
Wednesday 14 June 2017 10:58 BST
Corbyn arrives in Commons to applause

Jeremy Corbyn was given a standing ovation by Labour MPs as he returned to the House of Commons, having led his party to an unexpectedly strong showing in the general election.

It was the first parliamentary sitting since last week's poll, which saw the Conservatives lose their Parliamentary majority and Labour surge in the polls.

Mr Corbyn grinned as he made his way to the front of the Opposition benches on Tuesday, to the sound of applause from his MPs.

One, Richard Burgon, claimed Prime Minister Theresa May had laughed "uneasily" at the ovation.

It was an unusual sight given Mr Corbyn's previous problems uniting his party. He has faced a number of rebellions and even a no-confidence motion despite winning two leadership elections.

Since dawn on Friday revealed the extent of her misstep at the polls, Ms May has been forced into finding allies in the Commons in order to wield enough power to pass laws.

It has driven her into the arms of the conservative Christian DUP.

Their record on issues like climate change, same-sex marriage and abortion have let to criticism of the PM's attempt to secure their support for key votes.

A former minister, Ed Vaizey, highlighted the danger of any DUP tie-up, saying: "I come from [the] liberal wing of the Conservative party.

"I’m not going to support any legislation that I would regard as socially illiberal, or taking this country backwards."

Former Conservative Prime Minister John Major also urged Ms May to avoid a deal with the DUP, warning it risks a return of violence in Northern Ireland.

In a dramatic intervention, Sir John warned the peace process is "fragile" and could fall part if the British Government is no longer seen as "impartial".

DUP leader Arlene Foster said of the talks on Tuesday: "Discussions are going well with the Government and we hope soon to be able to bring this work to a successful conclusion."

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