Starmer signals Corbyn won’t be Labour candidate

Islington North MP says he has support of members

Friday, 18th February — By Anna Lamche

Starmer and Corbyn

Sir Keir Starmer and Jeremy Corbyn

SIR Keir Starmer said this week that he doesn’t see how it is possible for Jeremy Corbyn to stand as a Labour MP at the next general election while the parliamentary whip remains suspended.

“At the moment he is not a Labour MP, so I don’t see how that’s possible,” the Labour Party leader told Channel 4 News.

“Jeremy Corbyn’s position at the moment is that he’s not got the Labour whip for reasons that everybody understands in relation to his response to the anti-semitism report.”

Mr Starmer made similar comments in other interviews.

In response, Mr Corbyn, the MP for Islington North, has called for the whip to be reinstated and for him to be allowed to play his part in the party he has represented for 39 years.

“I was very proud to be elected as the Labour MP for Islington North in 2019, and I continue to work for my constituents,” he said. “I think my suspension lasted about three weeks, and then the party leadership decided to prevent me from rejoining the Parliamentary Labour Party.

“It is unfair and a wrong decision that has angered many people in the Islington North constituency.”

Labour’s spin doctors have briefed national newspapers that Mr Corbyn could still be stopped from standing by the party – even if he apologised for comments after the publication of the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s report into how anti-semitism complaints were handled by the party.

Mr Corbyn said he had hoped the commission’s recommendations were acted on and that he opposed all forms of racism, but that the scale of the problem had been “dramatically overstated for political reasons by our opponents inside and outside the party, as well as by much of the media”.

Mr Starmer instantly suspended Mr Corbyn – who he had previously served next to on Labour’s front benches as the party’s Brexit spokesman during Mr Corbyn’s leadership.

Mr Corbyn said this week: “I hope the generous support I’ve had from unions and constituency Labour parties across the country will persuade those in charge that I should be reinstated.

“I’m very grateful for the support of Islington North Labour members.”

He has said he will continue with his job regardless of the inner workings of the Labour Party.

“I’ve just signed a Stop the War Coalition statement against the war in Ukraine,” he said. “I’ve been very active in opposition to a war in Ukraine. We have to have a diplomatic solution – there is no need or justification for a war that will kill thousands and achieve nothing except profit for arms companies.

“My focus is not on what the PLP thinks or doesn’t think. It’s on representing my constituents, and the huge issues we all face.”

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