18:59 GMT26 September 2020
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    Labour’s new leader Sir Keir Starmer will wait for a report on anti-Semitism in the party before moving against his former boss. A writer and former Labour member has added to rumours of former leader Jeremy Corbyn’s imminent expulsion from his party.

    Author and journalist Ian Hernon was quoted by news site Political UK this week, calling Jeremy Corbyn's response to new leader Sir Keir Starmer's apology and payout to Labour whistleblowers "appalling".

    He believes Starmer is only waiting for the report from the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) probe into allegations of anti-Semitism in his party before launching a disciplinary against the former leader.

    "If that shows that Corbyn was at the top of an anti-Jewish regime then at that point I think Starmer would be justified in triggering a dismissal procedure".

    In July, Corbyn criticised Starmer’s apology and reported a £500,000 payout to Labour Party officials who appeared in the BBC Panorama documentary "Is Labour anti-Semitic?" last year.

    Days later, some 30 Panorama whistleblowers demanded that his head must roll as part of their settlement with the party.

    Labour MP Jon Trickett called it "a ridiculous demand" at the time.

    "Corbyn's reaction to Starmer's apology and compensation to the whistleblowers, when he said it was a political rather than a legal decision, I think was so appalling that Starmer should have started procedures to expel Corbyn from the Labour Party", Hernon said.

    But the journalist, who has reported on conflicts in Northern Ireland and the Middle East, stressed that Starmer "couldn't do that in the first two months of his leadership".

    "But of course we are waiting for the EHRC report which I think is due out in September", he added.

    Hernon, a former deputy editor of the left-wing Labour magazine Tribune, has written more than a dozen books, including "Anti-Semitism and the Left", published in January of this year.

    Jeremy Corbyn (left) and Keir Starmer
    © AP Photo / Matt Dunham
    Jeremy Corbyn (left) and Keir Starmer

    His other titles include 2015's "Robert Tressell – a Life in Hell", a biography of the author of "the Ragged-Trousered Philanthropists". That was co-authored by super-union Unite General Secretary and Corbyn supporter Len McClusky, another critic of Starmer’s deal with the whistleblowers.

    Expelling the former leader could be highly divisive and damaging for Starmer and Labour.

    Over 250,000 Labour members voted for Corbyn in the 2015 leadership election, with over 300,000 backing him against Welsh MP Owen Smith's challenge the following year. The former leader remains the leading standard-bearer of the Labour left.

    Such a move would also be nearly without precedent. The only Labour leader to have been expelled was Ramsay McDonald, who split the party when he entered the first "National Government" with the Conservatives and Liberals in 1931 amid the Great Depression.

    Corbynites took to twitter this week to denounce any expulsion move:

    ​But others backed kicking out Corbyn:

    antisemitism, antisemitism, Labour party, Labour Party, UK Labour Party, United Kingdom, British Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn
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