Sir Keir Starmer has said that former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will not stand as a candidate for the party at the next general election - described by the Islington North MP as an "attack on democracy".
Mr Corbyn, who sits as an independent, had the whip removed in 2020 over his response to the scathing Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) report into antisemitism in the party.
Mr Corbyn has said Starmer barring him from standing as a Labour candidate at the next general election is a “flagrant attack” on democracy.
He added: “This is a divisive distraction from our overriding goal: to defeat the Conservative Party.”
Sir Keir Starmer had blocked Mr Corbyn from returning as a Labour MP, saying on Wednesday he had previously “challenged” the Islington North MP “both in the shadow cabinet and publicly” on antisemitism.
He vowed the job to drive out anti-Jewish racism was not over, before he categorically said Mr Corbyn, who led the party for nearly five years, would not stand again for Labour.
His next steps are unclear, but if Mr Corbyn decides to run as an independent MP, it could be a challenge for Labour to win Islington North, where he commands significant local support in a constituency he has represented since 1983.
“Let me be very clear about that: Jeremy Corbyn will not stand for Labour at the next general election, as a Labour Party candidate," Sir Keir said after a speech in east London. “What I said about the party changing, I meant, and we are not going back, and that is why Jeremy Corbyn will not stand as a Labour candidate at the next general election.”
“As you know, it’s a matter of record that on antisemitism I challenged the previous leader both in the shadow cabinet and publicly on that," he added. “And it’s absolutely clear that the Labour Party lost its way and that’s why I knew that my first duty as leader of the Labour Party was to change the Labour Party and to tear antisemitism out. “That’s why on my acceptance speech, I made an apology on behalf of the Labour Party and made that my commitment.”
His comments come after it was announced that Labour is no longer being monitored by the equalities watchdog after making the changes demanded over its law-breaking handling of antisemitism under Mr Corbyn. Sir Keir said the judgment that the necessary reforms have been made was an “important moment in the history of the Labour Party”. The EHRC had been scrutinising the party since ruling it was responsible for unlawful acts of harassment and discrimination more than two years ago. But under Sir Keir’s leadership the watchdog says it has improved its complaints and training procedures to protect current and future party members.
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