Keir Starmer refuses to restore Labour whip to Jeremy Corbyn

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Jeremy Corbyn will not be readmitted to Labour's Parliamentary Party despite being allowed back into the party, Keir Starmer has said.

The ex-Labour leader has not been readmitted as a Labour MP despite a disciplinary panel lifting the suspension of his party membership.

The decision not to restore the whip to Mr Corbyn was made by his successor as party leader and the chief whip, Nick Brown.

Mr Corbyn’s supporters had insisted party rules meant he should be automatically readmitted.

A simmering civil war between Labour's new leadership and allies of Mr Corbyn is now likely to reach new heights.

But it was praised by Jewish groups, with the Board of Deputies of British Jews saying Mr Starmer had made the “appropriate leadership decision”.

Mr Starmer said he would not restore the Labour whip to Mr Corbyn because of a lack of confidence in the party's disciplinary processes.

Jeremy Corbyn

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In a statement Mr Starmer said: “Since I was elected Labour leader, I have made it my mission to root out antisemitism from the Labour Party.

“I know that I will judged on my actions, not my words.

“The disciplinary process does not have the confidence of the Jewish community. That became clear once again yesterday.

“It is the task of my leadership to fix what I have inherited. That is what I am resolute in doing and I have asked for an independent process to be established as soon as possible.

“I’m the Leader of the Labour Party, but I’m also the Leader of the Parliamentary Labour Party.

“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.”

Jon Lansman criticised the decision

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But Mr Starmer's response prompted immediate backlash from those on Labour's left.

Jon Lansman, who founded left wing group Momentum, tweeted: "The decision not to restore the whip to Corbyn just announced has driven a coach and horses through the party’s disciplinary process, making it subservient to the parliamentary party and embedding 'political interference'.

"The whip was only removed because he had been suspended!"

Veteran Labour MP Dame Margaret Hodge, who is Jewish, said withholding the whip from Mr Corbyn was the “right decision”.

She tweeted: “Yesterday has shown once again just how broken and unjust the existing complaints system is. It has caused untold hurt and anguish across the Jewish community, undermined progress made and made me question my own place in the party.

“As Corbyn has refused to himself accept the findings of the EHRC report, refused to apologise for his actions and refused to take any responsibility, withholding the whip is the right decision.”

President pf the Board of Deputies Marie van der Zyl said: “We welcome Keir Starmer’s decision to withhold the whip from Jeremy Corbyn.

“Despite the EHRC’s finding that the party had acted unlawfully under Mr Corbyn’s watch, Jeremy Corbyn’s initial reaction to the report was dismissive and he has been shameless and remorseless for what he has put the Jewish community through.

“Meanwhile, Labour’s disciplinary process is clearly still not fit for purpose.

Mr Corbyn was suspended from the party, and had the whip withdrawn, after he claimed that the scale of anti-Semitism in the party was “dramatically overstated for political reasons” by opponents and “much of the media".

(Image: JESSICA TAYLOR/UK PARLIAMENT HANDOUT/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

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The former opposition leader later sought to clarify the remarks in a statement.

Mr Corbyn initially claimed that while “one anti-Semite is one too many” the “scale of the problem was also dramatically overstated for political reasons by our opponents inside and outside the party, as well as by much of the media”.

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He was suspended for those comments and Mr Keir said people who believed it was “exaggerated, or a factional attack” were “part of the problem” and “should be nowhere near the Labour Party either”.

But Mr Corbyn acknowledged ahead of a meeting of the NEC disputes committee on Tuesday that concerns around anti-Semitism in Labour were not “exaggerated”.

He revealed he had given a statement to the party in an attempt to “clear up any confusion” over his initial response and a broadcast interview given in the wake of the report.

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