Sir Keir Starmer has announced that former Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn will no longer sit as an MP for the Party in the House of Commons as a result of his response to a report regarding anti-Semitism within the Party.
In late-October, the Labour Party announced that Jeremy Corbyn was suspended and his whip removed, after his response to the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s report on anti-Semitism within the Party was deemed inappropriate. 19 days later, he was reinstated as a member of the Party with a formal warning not to repeat misconduct, but can no longer be an MP. There is widespread debate about whether Mr Corbyn’s actions warrant such severe action.
Jeremy Corbyn denounced the Human Rights report, entitled ‘Investigation into antisemitism in the Labour Party’, as ‘dramatically overstated for political reasons by our opponents inside and outside the party, as well as by much of the media‘ when it was decided that the Party broke the law while responding to complaints of anti-Semitism, before concluding: ‘While I do not accept all of [the report’s]findings, I trust its recommendations will be swiftly implemented to help move on from this period.’
Keir Starmer denounced this response, saying that his remarks had ‘undermined… our work in restoring trust‘ with the Jewish community. Marie van der Zyl, the President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, concurred with Sir Starmer, stating that Mr Corbyn was ‘shameless and remorseless for what he has put the Jewish community through.’
However, 28 MPs and four peers have issued a statement calling for a ‘swift reversal‘ of the decision not to restore Jeremy Corbyn to the whip. One of those in opposition is John McDonnell, who has said Mr Corbyn’s withdrawal from the Commons will create ‘more division and disunity in the party.‘
Indeed, Sir Starmer’s appointment as party leader has caused such backlash that the Party has lost on average 250 members per day since he was elected in the spring – that’s roughly 57,000 (10%) of members lost between April and November. This fact is attributed to the fact that Party membership surged in the first place due to Mr Corbyn’s immense popularity among a new generation of voters.
It is yet to be seen what lasting impact these changes in Jeremy Corbyn’s status will have. Sir Keir Starmer has said he will keep his decision to refuse Mr Corbyn the whip under review.