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Jeremy Corbyn won’t have Labour whip restored after ‘undermining’ antisemitism fight, says Sir Keir Starmer



The former leader will still not officially be a Labour MP despite having had his suspension as a party member lifted.

Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will not have the party’s whip restored, his successor Sir Keir Starmer has announced.

It means that Mr Corbyn will still not officially be a Labour MP, despite his suspension as a party member having been lifted by a disciplinary panel on Tuesday evening.

In a statement on Wednesday, Sir Keir said that Labour’s disciplinary process “does not have the confidence of the Jewish community”, adding: “That became clear once again yesterday.”

He reiterated his intent to establish a new independent disciplinary process “as soon as possible” and revealed that Mr Corbyn would not yet be readmitted as a Labour MP.

The Islington North MP had been suspended by Labour several weeks ago following his response to a damning report by the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC).Advertisement

“I’m the leader of the Labour Party, but I’m also the leader of the Parliamentary Labour Party,” Sir Keir said.

“Jeremy Corbyn’s actions in response to the EHRC 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 EHRC’s report was critical of the party’s handling of antisemitism complaints under Mr Corbyn’s leadership.

But, immediately after the report’s publication last month, Mr Corbyn claimed “the scale of the problem” of Labour antisemitism allegations was “dramatically overstated for political reasons by our opponents”.

He also said he did not accept all of the EHRC report’s findings in comments that prompted his suspension.

Mr Corbyn subsequently sought to clarify his remarks and a five-member disciplinary panel of Labour’s National Executive Committee decided that he should be reinstated on Tuesday.

But Sir Keir faced pressure from angry MPs not to allow Mr Corbyn back into the parliamentary party.

Senior Labour MP Dame Margaret Hodge had posted on Twitter on Tuesday: “I simply cannot comprehend why it is acceptable for Corbyn to be a Labour MP if he thinks antisemitism is exaggerated and a political attack, refuses to apologise, never takes responsibility for his actions & rejects the findings of the EHRC report. Ridiculous.”

Dame Margaret said on Wednesday that it was the “right decision” to continue to withhold the Labour whip from Mr Corbyn.

Sir Keir’s statement on Wednesday came less than an hour before he was due to appear in the House of Commons for Prime Minister’s Questions.

Fiona Sharpe, spokesperson for the Labour Against Antisemitism group, said: “The decision to continue to withhold the whip from Jeremy Corbyn is a welcome gesture.

“However, it must not be used to obscure the disgraceful events of the last 24 hours or the calamity of institutional antisemitism in the Labour Party.

“Having announced that his leadership signalled new management of the Labour Party, Keir Starmer’s authority has been completely undermined by the lifting of Mr Corbyn’s suspension yesterday.

“Less than three weeks on from the publication of the damning EHRC report into anti-Jewish racism in the Labour Party, the Jewish community has again been ignored and failed.

“Until an independent complaints process is introduced, and all historical cases of antisemitism from 2015 onwards are reviewed in full, the Labour Party will not be a safe space for British Jews.”