Sir Keir Starmer has announced that Jeremy Corbyn will be banned from sitting as a Labour MP despite pressure from supporters to restore the party’s whip to the party he previously led.
The decision might spark a civil war with Mr Corbyn’s supporters, who requested his reinstatement to the parliamentary grouping after his party membership suspension was lifted, with the leader of the Corbyn-backing Momentum movement saying the decision by the party leadership amounted to political interference.
Sir Starmer in a statement said Mr Corbyn’s response to last month’s Equality and Human Rights Commission report had “undermined and set back our work in restoring trust and confidence in the Labour Party’s ability to tackle antisemitism” and as a result, he was not going to restore the whip.
But it looks like the current Labour leader doesn’t have a stamp of that decision yet as he said to be leaving the door open for an eventual return to the party, saying he would keep the issue “under review”.
Mr Corbyn was suspended from the party and had the whip stripped off him on 29 October after he refused to accept the report of the EHRC, saying the scale of Labour antisemitism under his leadership had been “dramatically overstated” by political contenders.
Mr Corbyn party membership was restored on Tuesday by a meeting of the disputes panel of the party’s National Executive Committee, following the release of a statement in which he agrees that report about antisemitism were neither ‘exaggerated’ nor ‘overstated.’
Sir Starmer said in a statement, “Since I was elected Labour leader, I have made it my mission to root out antisemitism from the Labour Party. I know that I will judge my actions, not my words.
“The disciplinary process does not have the confidence of the Jewish community. That became clear once again yesterday. It is the task of my leadership to fix what I have inherited. That is what I am resolute in doing and I have asked for an independent process to be established as soon as possible.
“I’m the leader of the Labour Party, but I’m also the leader of the Parliamentary Labour Party. Jeremy Corbyn’s actions in response to the EHRC (Equality and Human Rights Commission) report undermined and set back our work in restoring trust and confidence in the Labour Party’s ability to tackle antisemitism.
“In those circumstances, I have taken the decision not to restore the whip to Jeremy Corbyn. I will keep this situation under review.”
The decision sparked fury among Corbyn supporters with Momentum founder Jon Lansman firing, “The decision not to restore the whip to Corbyn just announced has driven a coach and horses through the party’s disciplinary process, making it subservient to the parliamentary party and embedding ‘political interference’. The whip was only removed because he had been suspended!
Meanwhile, former Corbyn spokesman Matt Zarb-Cousin reacted, “The leadership is prolonging a fight it should be de-escalating after yesterday. Just back down with grace, learn from it and move on.”