Ex-Labour Leader Corbyn Slams 'Irrational' Suspension From Party One Year On
© AP Photo / Matt DunhamFormer Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn joins demonstrators at Parliament Square during a 'Kill the Bill' protest in London, Saturday, April 3, 2021
© AP Photo / Matt Dunham
Jeremey Corbyn's sudden and unexpected rise to leadership of the party he had represented over four decades boosted support for the party during the wrangling over Britain's exit from the European Union (EU). But he was ultimately brought down by stubbornness of his fellow Labour MPs.
Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has called his year-long suspension from the party he has represented for 38 years "unfair and irrational".
In an interview with his local newspaper the Islington Tribune, the Islington North MP said the process of his suspension in October and November 2020 was "unfair".
And he said promised review of Corbyn's suspension within three months has still not taken place.
“The Parliamentary Labour Party has no business holding double jeopardy over me or anyone else,” Corbyn said. “Removal of the whip from me is unfair and irrational.”
“I was readmitted into the party, completely cleared by an NEC inquiry, and that should be the end of the matter," he added.
Starmer moved rapidly to eject Corbyn over his response to the October 29 2020 Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) report into allegations of anti-Semitism in the party. The vetreran left-winger said in his statement at the time that "the scale of the problem was also dramatically overstated for political reasons by our opponents inside and outside the party, as well as by much of the media".
"Let’s be clear: I abhor anti-Semitism in any form," Corbyn told the Islington Tribune. "The words I used were, ‘One anti-Semite in the Labour Party is one anti-Semite too many,’ and I stand by that.”
The former leader's readmission came after he posted a statement on Facebook clarifying his comments.
“To be clear, concerns about antisemitism are neither ‘exaggerated’ nor ‘overstated’,” he wrote. "The point I wished to make was that the vast majority of Labour Party members were and remain committed anti-racists deeply opposed to antisemitism."
If Starmer refuses to restore the whip to Corbyn before the next election, his constituency party branch will be obliged to select another candidate for the seat he has represented since 1983.
"I hope to be the Labour candidate for Islington North in the next general election," Corbyn insisted, saying his constituents often tell him his ongoing suspension is "completely unfair."
Purge of the Left
The hero of Labour's radical wing warned the party's recent purge of leftists would prove damaging.
“It’s counterproductive because it demoralises the party, it demoralises members as well, at the very time we need members to be active,” Corbyn said.
He cited the recent case of Harrow borough Labour councillor Pamela Fitzpatrick, who was expelled from the party last week for giving an interview to left-wing news sheet Socialist Appeal over a year before it was proscribed by the party.
At least two NEC members have formally raised concerns over the retrospective application of the rule to a sitting elected official.
21 November 2021, 19:47 GMT
Party of Opposition
Corbyn's unexpected victory in the 2015 party leadership election catapulted him from the backbenches he had occupied since 1983 to the head of the party.
He survived four years of public attacks and leadership challenges from his party comrades, but his run of good fortune came to an end at the December 2019 general election — largely thanks to a policy of re-running the 2016 EU membership referendum, which was championed by Starmer in his role as shadow Brexit secretary.
Now Corbyn says he's comfortable being back where he started as an opposition constituency MP.
And he criticised Starmer's approach to leading the opposition as not confrontational enough with Prime Minister Boris Johnson's governing Conservatives.
"I sit at the back in the chamber. Indeed, exactly where I sat before I was leader of the party," Corbyn said.
“It is an opportunity to present a complete alternative to Johnson’s swashbuckling, ill-informed, ill-prepared approach to government. Johnson has got away with it for a long time. It’s not really working for him so much now, so we have to have an alternative."
"I think too often we’ve given the government the benefit of the doubt on COVID and we’re not clear enough about an interventionist economy for the future," Corbyn said.
"Johnson essentially offers a Thatcherite model," he argued, while admitting "he’s not as miserable as Margaret Thatcher was."