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Jeremy Corbyn Risks Total Exclusion From Labour After Accepting Donation

3 min read

Former party leader Jeremy Corbyn, who sits as an independent MP but is still an ordinary Labour member, faces the prospect of being excluded altogether from Labour after accepting a donation from We Deserve Better, PoliticsHome understands.

Corbyn was suspended both as a member and a Labour MP in 2020 over his response to the Equality and Human Rights Commission report on antisemitism in Labour. He was readmitted to the party the following month, after the matter was considered by Labour’s national executive committee (NEC), but he was not let back into the parliamentary party.

The ex-leader’s Labour membership is now in doubt, however, as it is understood that complaints have been submitted to the party about his acceptance of a donation from the recently established organisation ‘We Deserve Better’. The group, backed by commentator Owen Jones, is supporting individual “socialist candidates”, including the Green Party’s Carla Denyer against shadow cabinet member Thangam Debbonaire.

Corbyn’s registered interests were updated this month to show that he accepted £5,000 from We Deserve Better on 12 April 2024 for “political activities”.

PoliticsHome understands that the party is looking at the donation, and Labour sources have suggested that Corbyn now faces possible exclusion from Labour. Party rules state that any member “declaring an intention to stand in a public election in opposition to a party candidate” faces auto-exclusion from the party.

It is also against the rules for a member to support “any political organisation that the NEC in its absolute discretion shall declare to be inimical with the aims and values of the party”.

Complaints against Corbyn on this matter would be considered, along with other possible cases of auto-exclusion, by a panel of NEC members. 

The ruling body, on which Keir Starmer supporters have a clear majority, passed a motion in March last year confirming it would block Corbyn from becoming a Labour candidate.

Corbyn said at the time: “The NEC’s decision to block my candidacy for Islington North is a shameful attack on party democracy, party members and natural justice.”

It is now widely expected that the MP will stand as an independent candidate in the Islington North seat he has represented since 1983.

A spokesperson for We Deserve Better said: “Jeremy Corbyn’s suspension was lifted by the disciplinary panel and he should be sitting as a Labour MP. It was the leadership which decided to suspend him again in an act of blatant political interference in disciplinary processes, something Starmer always claimed he opposed.

“This smacks of desperation from Starmer’s increasingly authoritarian leadership which is clutching at straws to purge socialist Labour MPs. We Deserve Better is not a political party and we’re not proscribed from Labour so there’s no cause for disciplinary action against Labour MPs who take donations from us. We’re a people powered movement raising funds from small donations to support socialist and pro-Palestinian independent, Green and Labour candidates, and mobilising thousands of people to campaign for them.”

Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party were contacted for comment.

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