Corbyn allies demand ex-leader is reinstated to Labour ranks

Leading left-wing Labour figures have rallied together to call for an end to the suspension of former leader Jeremy Corbyn from the party.

The remarks came after Mr Corbyn was suspended last month after claiming the scale of anti-Semitism in Labour had been “dramatically overstated for political reasons”.

Mr Corbyn’s comments were in the wake of an inquiry by the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) which found that, under his leadership, Labour had unlawfully discriminated against Jewish members.

Former senior shadow Cabinet members who served under Mr Corbyn, such as Diane Abbott and John McDonnell, were among those taking part in a social media event on Monday calling for the North London MP to be reinstated.

Ahead of the pro-Corbyn virtual event, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer urged supporters of Mr Corbyn not to tie up the party with costly legal actions in an attempt to secure his reinstatement.

It has been reported that former shadow attorney general Baroness (Shami) Chakrabarti is working on a legal case to get his suspension revoked.

Ex-shadow home secretary, Ms Abbott said: “I think it is so important that we all come together and fight to reinstate Jeremy Corbyn to the Labour Party.

“I stand with Jeremy.”

She added: “There do seem to be issues of due process in the way he has been suspended.

“There is no clarity as to which rule he has actually broken.”

Labour anti-Semitism row
Jeremy Corbyn, alongside Shami Chakrabarti (Jonathan Brady/PA)

Former shadow chancellor and long term Corbyn ally Mr McDonnell said the suspension was an unnecessary “distraction”.

He stated: “I just think this is a complete and utter distraction from what we should be doing.

“You just want to pull your hair out really.

“Why is this going on because I can’t understand the grounds upon which Jeremy was suspended.

“In this way?”

Earlier, in an LBC radio phone-in, Sir Keir said the party should be focusing on campaigning and winning elections.

He said that he would raise the issue with Lady Chakrabarti, the author of an earlier, much-criticised report on anti-Semitism in the party, when he next spoke to her.

“I don’t think anybody wants to see yet more legal cases.

“I want to see the Labour Party focused on campaigning to win elections,” he said.

“We have got a massive set of elections next May, we have got a general election in 2024.

“We absolutely have to be focused on that.

“So I don’t want to see any Labour Party money or time tied up with yet more legal cases.

“I will talk to Shami about this when I next speak to her.”

Sir Keir denied it had been a “political decision” by general secretary David Evans to suspend Mr Corbyn, although he made clear he strongly supported the action against his predecessor.

“It is quite something when an Equalities and Human Rights Commission, which was set up by a Labour government, finds the Labour Party in breach of a law that the Labour government passed,” he said.

“In those circumstances I think it is very important to take tough decisions.”

Sir Keir said he was committed to putting in place measures to implement the commission’s recommendations by next month’s deadline.

“We have been anticipating this report.

“We have done quite a lot of the hard work already.

“We will hand that plan on time to commission and then I hope we can sign it off and start working to it,” he said.

“I think what those who were most pained by our failure to deal with anti-Semitism want is an honest acknowledgement by the Labour Party of the scale of the problem and to see us committed to changing it.

“That is the commitment I will give and I will deliver on.”

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