Lawyers for Jeremy Corbyn write to Labour as allies accuse Keir Starmer of meddling

Mr Corbyn has been readmitted into the party but has not had the Labour whip restored (Image: PA)

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Lawyers for former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn have written to the Labour chiefs demanding he is reinstated as a party MP.

The letter reportedly criticises the procedural handling of Mr Corbyn case and the lack of a specific timescale when the suspension took place.

Yesterday, Labour' civil war over Keir Starmer ’s decision to block Mr Corbyn from sitting as a Labour MP despite his readmission as a party member continued to spread.

Last night, The Guardian reported that Mr Corbyn had been told he will have the Labour whip suspended for at least three months.

Allies of Mr Corbyn have stepped up their pressure on Mr Starmer in a bid to get the ex-Labour leader reinstated.

Members of the left-wing factions on Labour's National Executive Commitee said they expected the whip to be returned as a consequence of a decision by an NEC panel on Tuesday.

Mr Corbyn currently sits as an independent MP
(Image: JESSICA TAYLOR/UK PARLIAMENT/HANDOUT/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)

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They claimed Mr Starmer was guilty of the exact type of political intervention that had been criticised by the EHRC.

“The decision of the leader the following day to withhold the whip from Jeremy Corbyn MP is an act of deliberate political interference in the handling of a complaint,” the letter to the general secretary, David Evans, said.

“It defies the decision of the NEC panel, is a matter of double jeopardy that flies in the face of natural justice, it undermines the rule book and it is precisely the type of action found to be unlawful indirect discrimination by the Equalities and Human Rights Commission [EHRC] report.”

On Thursday, Shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds said a “politicised” disciplinary process had resulted in Mr Corbyn’s readmittance to the party after his suspension – imposed in the wake of a damning report into the handling of anti-Semitism in Labour – was lifted on Tuesday.

The Labour leader said on Wednesday morning that he would not restore the whip, meaning Mr Corbyn will continue to sit as an independent MP and will not be part of the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP).

Former shadow home secretary Diane Abbott, an ally of Mr Corbyn, questioned whether Sir Keir would ever have been elected leader if members knew how he would act against his predecessor.

She said excluding Mr Corbyn was “wrong” and Sir Keir’s actions were “no way to unite the party”.

Keir Starmer said the process which readmitted Mr Corbyn was flawed
(Image: Getty Images)

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But prominent Jewish Labour MP Dame Margaret Hodge suggested she would have left the party if Mr Corbyn had been readmitted to the PLP and Sir Keir’s actions “did a lot to restore his credibility”.

Yesterday Dame Margaret told the BBC’s Today programme: “It was completely wrong for the party to let Corbyn back in under a process that was shown, again, to be broken and politically corrupted, and I think it was completely right of Keir Starmer to deny Jeremy Corbyn the whip.”

Mr Corbyn was reinstated as a Labour member by the National Executive Committee following a meeting of a disciplinary panel, three weeks after he was suspended over his response to a scathing Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) report.

The equalities watchdog has ordered Labour to establish an independent process to deal with anti-Semitism issues, rather than the system which dealt with Mr Corbyn’s case.

Ms Dodds told Today it was “a matter of huge regret”, adding: “We have to sort out that system, it cannot remain as a politicised system.”

Asked whether there could be a way to readmit Mr Corbyn to the PLP, she said Mr Starmer had promised to keep the position “under review”.

Ms Abbott was one of more than 30 MPs and peers in the left-wing Socialist Campaign Group calling for Mr Corbyn to have the whip restored.

The group said: “The decision not to restore the whip to Jeremy Corbyn is wrong and damaging to the Labour Party.”

Len McCluskey, general secretary of Unite – Labour’s biggest donor – said the refusal to restore the whip to Mr Corbyn was “vindictive and vengeful” as he urged Sir Keir to “pull back from the brink”.

He accused Sir Keir of acting in “bad faith” and reports have suggested that allies of Mr Corbyn believed a deal had been struck with this successor’s office to restore his standing in the party – a claim denied by the leadership.

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