Jeremy Corbyn is told to apologise for his past comments about Labour’s anti-Semitism crisis… or stay suspended from the party whip
The hard-Left former leader was suspended last year after saying the scale of the problem had been ‘dramatically overstated for political reasons’ by opponents and the media.
He was later let back in as a party member, but he is still suspended from the Labour whip and sits in the Commons as an independent.
Yesterday, Mr Corbyn refused to rule out standing against his own party in his Islington North seat at the next election.
And he denied being part of a ‘Machiavellian plot’ to stage a shadow cabinet resignation to overshadow the Labour conference.
Jeremy Corbyn will only get the party whip back if he issues an apology for past comments about Labour’s anti-Semitism crisis, Sir Keir Starmer (pictured) said
Mr Corbyn’s ally Andy McDonald quit on Monday – prompting allies of Sir Keir to accuse the hard-Left of ‘sabotage’.
Speaking to the BBC, Sir Keir said it was up to Mr Corbyn to apologise. He said the issue is ‘between Jeremy and the chief whip’.
‘It has been going on for months and the ball is in Jeremy’s court. Jeremy was asked to apologise to take down the post that caused the problem the first place and to work with us.’
Speaking at a fringe event in Brighton yesterday, Mr Corbyn again declined to apologise.
Asked if he might stand as an independent at the next election, he said: ‘Let’s not go into hypotheticals here. As far as I’m concerned I was proud to be elected as a Labour MP in December 2019.
‘I have been elected ten times in my constituency since 1983. I love the area and do my best to represent all of the people in my community.’
Mr Corbyn admitted he had several conversations with Mr McDonald, the shadow employment rights spokesman, on the same day – but said that did not constitute a plot.
‘I was there to give Andy support in whatever decision he decided to make,’ he said. ‘If it had been a deep-laid Machiavellian plot to announce a resignation … it would’ve leaked out weeks ago.’
Jeremy Corbyn (pictured) was suspended after saying the scale of Labour’s anti-Semitism problem had been ‘dramatically overstated for political reasons’ by opponents and the media
Mr McDonald resigned, saying the leadership told him to argue against a rise in the minimum wage to £15 an hour.
Ian Murray, the moderate shadow Scottish secretary, said it looked like ‘planned sabotage’.
He said: ‘This was a policy, don’t forget, that … [Mr McDonald] launched with much acclaim in the conference hall 48 hours before he resigned.’
Mr McDonald had been due to appear at the same fringe event as Mr Corbyn, but Labour MP Barry Gardiner told the audience he had chosen to return to London instead.
He said: ‘If [resigning] had been something he had wanted to cause disruption by rather than simply a personal decision… then he would’ve been here, he would have been grandstanding. I really think it is wrong to try and say he was being manipulative.’