A reporter for the Jewish Telegraph has said that Keir Starmer is allegedly planning to remove the whip from Jeremy Corbyn. That is, the former Labour leader will be booted out of the parliamentary party and become an independent MP.
Starmer: about to kick Corbyn out?
Adam Cailler tweeted that ‘a few sources’ had told him that is was “very possible” and “highly likely” that Starmer will remove the whip from Corbyn:
According to a few Labour sources this morning, it's "very possible" and "highly likely" that Jeremy Corbyn will have the whip removed very soon, as a result of some of the recommendations in the EHRC report.#LabourAntisemitism
— Adam Cailler (@acailler) July 22, 2020
As Cailler said, it is apparently due to the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s (EHRC) report into antisemitism within the Labour Party under Corbyn’s tenure. As PoliticsHome reported, the EHRC has given Starmer a draft copy of its report. As The Canary previously reported, the EHRC announced it would launch an investigation into Labour over antisemitism in May 2019. ITV News reported:
Its remit is to determine whether unlawful acts have been committed by the party or its employees, and whether Labour responded to complaints in a “lawful, efficient and effective manner”.
The contents of the report are unknown. But LabourList speculated that it was unlikely that it would name individuals. Instead, the report will:
likely consider the institution as a whole. It is not considered beyond the bounds of possibility that individuals will be censured, though, either due to original actions or frustrating the investigation.
But already there appears to be movement from the Labour leadership in relation to the fallout from the report. The Guardian wrote on 22 July that the party has:
apologised ‘unreservedly’ and paid out a six-figure sum to seven former employees and a veteran BBC journalist, admitting it defamed them in the aftermath of a Panorama investigation into its handling of antisemitism.
The Panorama documentary in July 2019 caused a storm at the time, with media outlets supportive to Corbyn criticising the whistleblowers. This was further compounded by a leaked internal report which was meant to go to the EHRC as evidence.
“Sexist and racist commentary”
As The Canary reported, the leaked document suggests sustained and open hostility to Corbyn’s leadership and Corbyn-supporting MPs and members. It indicates that internal “factionalism” may have played a “critical” role in the investigation of antisemitism allegations under Corbyn’s leadership. The summary states:
This report reveals a litany of mistakes, deficiencies, and missed opportunities to reform, develop and adapt a clearly failing disciplinary system.
Some pro-Corbyn MPs said the leaked report showed:
Casual snobbery. Sexist and racist commentary. Clandestine plotting. Contempt for democracy. A sense of privilege and entitlement.
This is not the Bullingdon Club, it is what runs through the messages revealed in the leaked document
Given the content of the leaked report, juxtaposed with the party’s payout to the Panorama whistleblowers, it’s becoming clear which direction of travel Starmer is taking. But so far, Labour has remained tight-lipped on the EHRC report.
“Prepare for war”
A spokesperson told PoliticsHome:
The draft report has been shared with the Labour Party as part of a process afforded to us prior to the report’s publication. It is sent in confidence by the EHRC, so until that process is completed, it would be inappropriate to comment on any of the contents of the draft report – and we will not do so.
At the time of publication, some commentators were saying that Starmer wouldn’t remove the whip. And of course, a journalist quoting “sources” is not always reliable evidence. There’s the potential for Cailler to be mischief-making. But as The Canary‘s editor-at-large Kerry-Anne Mendoza tweeted:
Prepare for war. https://t.co/xSPcUY9i8r
— Kerry-Anne Mendoza (@TheMendozaWoman) July 22, 2020
The fallout from Corbyn’s loss of the whip could be huge. And it would cement Starmer’s ‘new broom’ approach to the Labour Party. How many members would leave, however, remains to be seen. And for those who stay, it could become a tumultuous period in Labour’s history.
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