Former shadow chancellor says Jeremy Corbyn should be reinstated as Labour MP

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Keir Starmer should reinstate Jeremy Corbyn as a parliamentary Labour MP, former shadow chancellor John McDonnell has said.

Former Labour leader Corbyn had the party whip withdrawn in October 2020. The was following his response to an Equality and Human Rights Commission report into antisemitism in the party. It’s been argued that the act of suspending Corbyn actually ignored a key recommendation of the EHRC report.

Author Alex Nunns pointed out:

Read on...

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A divided party

McDonnell said allowing Corbyn back into the Parliamentary Labour Party would demonstrate Starmer’s desire to “unite” the party. Despite running on a platform to do exactly that, Starmer has since been accused of hyper-factional attacks on the left of the party.

The party’s polling has now dropped to as low as 28% according to some pollsters. That’s four percentage points lower than the 2019 election:

Asked on Sky News’ Trevor Phillips On Sunday programme if it was time for Corbyn to be readmitted, McDonnell said:

Yes, it is. Keir, when he was elected leader, said he would unite the party and that’s why he received such overwhelming support when he was elected leader.

One step in demonstrating his uniting the party is to give Jeremy back the whip.

I think it would be a really helpful act if Keir did that now.

General Election 2019
Former shadow chancellor John McDonnell (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

The Labour Party

Islington North MP Corbyn was suspended from Labour for claiming the scale of antisemitism in the party was “dramatically overstated for political reasons”. This was after the Equality and Human Rights Commission published a report on antisemitism in the party.

Corbyn issued a “public statement of clarification” in November 2020. He said this was agreed with the party, saying concerns about antisemitism were “neither ‘exaggerated’ nor ‘overstated’”.

After a meeting of the disputes panel of Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC) the same day, Corbyn was issued with a formal warning and his suspension was lifted. But, the following day, Corbyn was told he could not sit as a Labour MP. Starmer said his predecessor had “undermined” work to restore trust and confidence in the party’s ability to tackle antisemitism.

Having the whip withdrawn is considered a serious punishment by a party. While the MP can keep their seat in the House of Commons, they’re classed as an independent.

Different standards

In April, Middle East Eye reported on activists alleging that Labour had used antisemitism allegations for factional purposes:

A group of Labour activists fighting through the courts to discover why they and others were investigated or expelled from the UK’s Labour Party for antisemitism say they have flushed out proof of bad faith from their accusers.

The group, who call themselves Labour Activists for Justice (LA4J), say the new disclosure confirms their claim that leading Jewish organisations intentionally politicised the meaning of antisemitism to entrap left-wing critics of Israel and undermine Labour’s former leader, Jeremy Corbyn.

The Labour activists said:

As a result, the number of cases of antisemitism in Labour was inflated, falsely feeding the public impression that the political party under Corbyn had attracted Jew haters…

The suggestion that groups like the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the Jewish Labour Movement “weaponised” antisemitism against Corbyn is currently seen as grounds by Labour to suspend or expel members.

But according to LA4J, evidence revealed in their legal case has now vindicated that claim.

Moreover, what was used as proof of “institutional antisemitism” when Corbyn was leader has been ignored in Starmer’s Labour:

The activists note that Jewish groups that waged a campaign of attacks on Corbyn over an antisemitism code of conduct drafted by the party in 2018 are now “deafeningly silent” on discovering that Keir Starmer, Labour’s new leader, has been secretly using exactly the same code.

When it was first published, the Board of Deputies and other Jewish organisations erupted in outrage, alleging that the 16-point code was proof of “institutional antisemitism” in the Labour party – and even that Corbyn posed a threat to Jewish life in Britain.

But the admission by Starmer’s officials that they are using the same code of conduct to investigate members has gone entirely unremarked three years later.

Additional reporting by PA


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  • Show Comments
    1. I for one hope Jeremy tells Starmer to shove it Square up his Arse!
      1. Jeremy is not a Thatcherite Neoliberal Neolabour Tory Party MP, He is a Democratic Socialist UK Labour Party MP with Ethics and Morals!
      2. He could not continue with half the Projects & Rallies he is doing now, they will just sack him again in months, he shouldn’t give them the pleasure!
      3. Before a Freed Jeremy Corbyn could return to “Labour” WE need to sack 190/200 Thatcherite Neoliberal Neolabour Party Tory PLPs, by VOTING THEM OUT!
      VOTE Neolabour Party Tory MPs/Candidates OUT!
      With their strongest opponent no matter who/what they are.
      VOTE UK Labour Party MPs/Candidates IN!
      Get to know your CLP, mine had NO indication of being a Corbynite (cryptically of course) based on what I saw I thought she was Neolabour Tory, lucky the day before voting she did the rounds and assured me of her position, she also told me all their Bumf comes from HQ, they don’t get much say in content!
      With a Smaller UK LABOUR PARTY, & Unions FREE from ALL Neoliberal Tory Parasites, Massive Membership, CLP/Candidates ready and working our buts off, out in the Community, like we already won our 650 constituencies, for 5 years, the Following GE is OURS!
      4. Then Jeremy can be Welcomed Back and play a Leading Part in guiding/mentoring the new UK LABOUR PARTY Leadership!

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