UK: Former hard-left Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn banned from standing as party candidate at next election

The ban follows a motion initiated by his successor, Sir Keir Starmer, and passed by the Labour party’s national executive committee on Tuesday

editor: REMIX NEWS
author: Thomas Brooke

Jeremy Corbyn, the former hard-left leader of Britain’s opposition Labour Party, has been blocked by the party’s national executive committee from standing as a Labour Party candidate at the next general election.

A motion proposed by current leader Sir Keir Starmer, which would prevent the party from endorsing his predecessor’s candidacy, was passed on Tuesday by 22 votes to 12. It effectively bans Mr. Corbyn from standing in any constituency at the next general election as a Labour candidate.

The motion stated that Labour’s chances of winning the next general election would be “significantly diminished” should Mr. Corbyn be allowed to stand.

Jeremy Corbyn, who led the party for five years between 2015 to 2020, has been the Labour MP for Islington North for four decades, first being elected in 1983 and going on to win reelection a total of nine times.

The former leader had the Labour whip removed back in October 2020 following a row over antisemitism and currently sits as an independent in the House of Commons. Several Jewish Labour MPs resigned from the party during Corbyn’s leadership over claims the former leader had legitimized a rise in antisemitic rhetoric from a number of the party’s members.

An Equality and Human Rights Commission report published in 2020 revealed the extent of the rise in antisemitism within the party under Corbyn’s leadership, a rise the former leader claimed had been “dramatically overstated” by political opponents and the mainstream media.

Sir Keir Starmer revealed last month that he would not allow Mr. Corbyn to stand for re-election as a Labour MP and told reporters he would change the rules to prevent him from doing so.

“Let me be very clear, Jeremy Corbyn will not stand at the next general election as a Labour party candidate,” Starmer said at the time. “What I said about the party changing, I meant, and we are not going back, and that is why Jeremy Corbyn will not stand as a Labour candidate at the next general election.”

Starmer’s move to change the rules on candidate selection, which is usually left to the membership of the local party, flies in the face of previous comments he has made when calling for the party to become more democratic.

“The selections for Labour candidates needs to be more democratic and we should end NEC impositions of candidates. Local party members should select their candidates for every election,” Starmer tweeted in February 2020.

Fast-forward three years, and the current opposition leader has just initiated a motion that will remove the ability of Corbyn’s local Labour party, with whom he remains incredibly popular, from nominating him for re-election.

In a statement, he said: “Keir Starmer has broken his commitment to respect the rights of Labour members and denigrated the democratic foundations of our party.

“I have been elected as the Labour MP for Islington North on 10 consecutive occasions since 1983. I am proud to represent a community that supports vulnerable people, joins workers on the picket line and fights for transformative change,” Corbyn said in a statement following the decision.

“This latest move represents a leadership increasingly unwilling to offer solutions that meet the scale of the crises facing us all. As the Government plunges millions into poverty and demonizes refugees, Keir Starmer has focused his opposition on those demanding a more progressive and humane alternative.

“I joined the Labour Party when I was 16 years old because, like millions of others, I believed in a redistribution of wealth and power. Our message is clear: we are not going anywhere. Neither is our determination to stand up for a better world,” Corbyn concluded.

He is understood to be considering standing as an independent candidate in his Islington North constituency, which could risk splitting the Labour vote considerably given his popularity.

The hard-left activist group Momentum, which is widely considered to have been responsible for infiltrating the Labour party with radical left-wing members and helping to elect Mr. Corbyn as opposition leader back in 2015, has also heavily criticized Starmer’s actions.

“We utterly condemn this venal and duplicitous act from Keir Starmer, which further divides the Labour Party and insults the millions of people inspired by Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership,” the group wrote in a statement.

“We urge all NEC representatives to reject this anti-democratic maneuver – it should be for Islington North Labour members to decide their candidate, not a neighboring MP drunk on his own power.

“It will come as a surprise to party members in Islington North, who overwhelmingly want Jeremy to be the Labour candidate. Keir is doing this because he knows Jeremy would wipe the floor in any selection contest,” they added.

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