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Fri, 27 November 2020

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Keir Starmer Will Not Give Jeremy Corbyn The Labour Whip Back Despite His Suspension From The Party Being Lifted

Keir Starmer Will Not Give Jeremy Corbyn The Labour Whip Back Despite His Suspension From The Party Being Lifted

Sir Keir Starmer has said he will not give Jeremy Corbyn the Labour whip back despite his reinstatement in the party (PA)

4 min read

Jeremy Corbyn will not be given the whip back despite his reinstatement to Labour, Sir Keir Starmer has confirmed.

The party leader accused his predecessor of having “undermined and set back our work in restoring trust and confidence” in tackling anti-semitism.

And he said the current disciplinary process “does not have the confidence of the Jewish community”, so he did not feel it right to allow Mr Corbyn to sit as a Labour MP.

The former leader was suspended last month on the day the Equality and Human Rights Commission published an inquiry into anti-semitism in the party. 

The damning report found the party had broken the law in its handling of complaints, but Mr Corbyn claimed the scale of anti-semitism had been "dramatically overstated for political reasons”.

As a result he lost the whip and has sat as an independent MP in the House of Commons since.

But yesterday Labour’s national executive committee decided to allow him back into the party with a warning, after just 19 days and despite him not apologising for his comments, though he did attempt to clarify them by saying concerns about anti-semitism are: "Neither 'exaggerated' nor 'overstated'."

Allies of Mr Corbyn insisted this would mean he would automatically have the whip restored, but senior Labour sources insisted it was a decision for the party leader and chief whip Nick Brown.

And in a statement this morning Sir Keir said he was not willing to do so, saying: "Since I was elected Labour leader, I have made it my mission to root out anti-Semitism 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."

In response the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism said withholding the whip from Mr Corbyn is "offering the Jewish community crumbs".

Its chief executive Gideon Falter said: "We have been conned. We did not go to the lengths of asking the EHRC to investigate the Labour Party only to return to the days of opaque, arbitrary decisions by panels that are unfit for purpose.”

He added: "Sir Keir needs to get a grip of his party and ensure that Mr Corbyn is held to account for what he did to Britain's Jews."

Fiona Sharpe, a spokesperson for Labour Against Antisemitism, said it was “a welcome gesture”, but added: “However, it must not be used to obscure the disgraceful events of the last 24 hours or the calamity of institutional antisemitism in the Labour Party.

“Having announced that his leadership signalled new management of the Labour Party, Keir Starmer’s authority has been completely undermined by the lifting of Mr Corbyn’s suspension yesterday.”

And the Board of Deputies of British Jews echoed those comments, saying they welcomed the decision to withhold the whip from Mr Corbyn, but “Labour's disciplinary process is clearly still not fit for purpose”.

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