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Keir Starmer Confirms Jeremy Corbyn Will Not Stand For Labour At Next Election

Keir Starmer pledged to eradicate anti-semitism from the Labour Party (Alamy)

4 min read

Labour leader Keir Starmer has confirmed that former leader Jeremy Corbyn will not stand as a Labour candidate at the next election, after the UK's equality watchdog said Labour has now improved how it handles anti-Semitism complaints.

"What I said about the party changing, I meant it, and that’s why Jeremy Corbyn will not stand as a candidate at the next election,” Starmer unequivocally confirmed following an East London speech marking the Equality and Human Rights Commission findings that the Labour party had improved its record on anti-Semitism.

The EHRC had previously found that the party, with Jeremy Corbyn as leader, had breached the Equality Act through unlawful discrimination. Corbyn did not accept the findings. 

Corbyn had the Labour whip suspended in November 2020 over the initial EHRC findings and has stood as an independent candidate since, with questions over whether he would be allowed back into the Labour fold ahead of the next election.

In today's speech, Starmer said he was “appalled” by the party under its previous leadership but now wants to bring the party “back to the British people”.

He said that "we are not going back" to the party as it was under Corbyn's leadership, confirming for the first time that Corbyn will not stand for the Labour Party.

However, Corbyn could continue to stand as an independent candidate, but has not yet directly responded to Starmer's announcement.

Shortly after Starmer's speech, the former leader tweeted a statement on his opposition to the Iraq war: "20 years ago, we organised the largest demonstration in UK history to oppose the Iraq War.

"We warned it would set off a spiral of conflict, death and desperation. We were vilified. We were deceived. We were ignored. But we will never stop striving for a more peaceful world."

In his speech, Starmer apologised for the party's record on anti-Semitism: "This is also a moment to apologise once again, to all those who were hurt, to all those who were let down, to all those driven out of our party who no longer felt it was their home, who suffered the most appalling abuse.

"Today, on behalf of the entire Labour Party, I say sorry."

Pledging that more work needed to be done to eradicate anti-Semitism, he added: “The first step on that journey was to accept the findings of the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

“But it was deeper than that, because we also had to make clear that there was no space for anyone who didn't do the same. 

“Let me be very clear: Those who seek to blame others or downplay what happened in our party are themselves part of the problem. And we will have zero patience or tolerance for that.”

Starmer also criticised the general approach of the party under Corbyn's leadership and assisted that the party has changed: “We have changed from a party that looked inward to a party that meets the public gaze, from a party of dogma to a party of patriotism, from a party of protest to a party of public service.”

The Labour leader urged anyone who disagrees with these changes: “If you don't like it, nobody is forcing you to stay.”

In a piece in The Times on Wednesday, Starmer wrote: “This is not a moment to celebrate. Instead, it is a moment of reflection; a time to apologise once again. 

“Ultimately, our success will be judged not by me or by the EHRC or by how much effort we put in, but by whether those who were so badly let down feel ready to call Labour their party again.”

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