Jeremy Corbyn and Keir Starmer

Corbyn hits back at Starmer’s decision to block Labour candidacy

Sir Keir Starmer’s decision to block Jeremy Corbyn from running for Labour at the next general election has continued to fracture the party.

The Labour Party’s current leader confirmed the decision when speaking at the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s announcement on ending their investigation of antisemitism within the Labour Party earlier this week.

The Islington North MP, who is an independent MP following Starmer’s decision to suspend him in 2020, labelled the decision a “flagrant attack” on democracy.

Corbyn tweeted a statement, in which he said: “Keir Starmer’s statement about my future is a flagrant attack on the democratic rights of Islington North Labour Party members. It is up to them – not party leaders – to decide who their candidate should be.

“Any attempt to block my candidacy is a denial of due process, and should be opposed by anybody who believes in the value of democracy.

“At a time when the government is overseeing the worst cost-of-living crisis in a generation, this is a divisive distraction from our overriding goal: to defeat the Conservative Party at the next General Election.”

Starmer insisted it was part of his pledge to remove antisemitism from the party, which was a concern under Corbyn’s reign.

He said: “Today is an important moment in the history of the Labour Party. It’s taken many, many months of hard work and humility to get here.

“It’s meant rebuilding trust, not just with the Jewish community but with all those who were rightly appalled by the culture of the party and the previous leadership.”

Starmer’s speech sent ripples throughout the party, with some MPs backing his decision and others coming out in support of Corbyn.

Those for Starmer’s decision

Barking MP Margaret Hodge posted on Twitter, claiming it was the right decision, before sharing her thoughts in full in a Sky News interview with Kay Burley.

She said: “I think there’s no circumstances in which he will be a candidate again for the Labour Party.”

Marie van der Zyl, President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, believed the decision was a step in the right direction of clearing antisemitism from the political sphere of the UK.

She said: “The EHRC’s decision is an important moment in Labour’s fight against antisemitism, recognising the Party’s strong move in the correct direction.

“Since taking office, Keir Starmer and his leadership team have made it clear that removing antisemitism from the Party is a top priority.

“This process is not over. But through significant effort, Labour is painstakingly rebuilding relationships which were wilfully shattered during the Corbyn years.”

Those against Starmer’s decision

Supporting Corbyn was his former shadow chancellor John McDonnell, who stated that there was a different problem at hand in the party.

He said on BBC Radio 4’s World at One: “The issue for us is that we were created as a coalition of a whole range of different political views, a broad church as we describe it, and the norms of our party, the normative values of our party, is to have that sort of mutual respect for different views and hold together.

”And that’s why I think it’s a mistake and I think it’s a mistake for Keir to try and bar Jeremy Corbyn from standing. But it’s not just about Jeremy, it’s much more fundamental than that.”

Another member of Corbyn’s shadow cabinet as Home Secretary, Diane Abbott, responded against the idea of Starmer fighting issues within the party in private.

She tweeted: “I was in Jeremy’s shadow cabinet alongside Starmer.

It is nonsense to say he was fighting privately.”

At this point in time, it is unknown if Corbyn will continue his candidacy at the next general election as an independent party, or remove himself from it entirely.

Featured image credit: Jeremy Corbyn under the license CC BY 2.0

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