Jeremy Corbyn 'hopes to be Labour MP again' for Islington North after whip was withdrawn

Jeremy Corbyn began by giving his assessment of Labour's prospects in the next election.

By Rhiannon Hopley, ITV News Producer

Jeremy Corbyn has been a permanent fixture in Westminster for nearly four decades but he says he never intended to be a politician. Yet he was elected to the Islington North seat in 1983 and has been there ever since. 

Now, despite nine successful re-elections and a stint as the leader of the Labour party, Jeremy Corbyn does not know if he will ever be able to sit as a Labour MP again. 

He lost the whip in 2020 over his response to the equalities watchdog’s report into antisemitism in the party. He now sits as Independent MP. 

The government has faced months of turmoil and Labour has begun to put itself on an election footing in preparation - but what does this mean for the man who currently represents Islington North?

"I'm a member of the Labour party and a member of parliament. I want to see an end to the Tory government. I want to see a Labour party that is putting forward coherent, radical views because that is what I think this country needs.

"I hope that the party reinstates the whip to me which in my view should never have been removed."

Jeremy Corbyn at the 2019 election results in Sobell Leisure Centre. Credit: PA Stills

But Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer says he will not reinstate Corbyn as a Labour MP until he apologises over comments he made in response to a report on anti-Semitism in the party in October 2020.

For his part, Corbyn insists he does not know what is expected of him:

"I don't know what I need to do because the decision has been made and various things have been said both behind the scenes and in public about what should or shouldn't happen."

He denies calling the findings of the report by the Equalities and Human Rights Commission overexaggerated:

"I didn't say that. I said I accepted the EHRC report. I also said some of the complaints which were made were either incorrect or exaggerated. What I also said is one antisemite is one antisemite too many. Antisemitism is a poison and evil in our society."

Jeremy Corbyn and Sir Keir Starmer have not had a straightforward relationship. Credit: PA Stills

When asked if he thinks there is a movement within the party to stop him being reinstated, Corbyn says he is not sure.

"I don't know. My local party members have been disenfranchised in this process because they're not allowed to decide whether to go ahead with selection or not. That hasn't happened. I am working as I have always done hard as the member of parliament for Islginton north and I will carry on doing that."

Does he feel betrayed by Sir Keir Starmer?

After pausing for thought he says: "Listen it's not a personal issue. I have made my contribution to the party."

Corbyn has no intentions of retiring from politics. "I will always - until my dying day -  be active in politics" he says. 

This would mean that if the Labour whip is not restored, he would have to run as an independent candidate. There have also been whispers of a pivot to a London mayoral campaign, which would see him pitted against Labour's Sadiq Khan. 

He refuses to be drawn on either option calling them both 'theoretical.'

"These are hypothetical questions I can't answer. Sorry to disappoint you on this occasion. Let's deal with the issue that I was elected as a Labour MP for Islington North and I want to carry on doing that."

While he does not want to commit to future plans (or rule them out explicitly), he does take the time to reflect on his past. When asked if he has any regrets about his leadership, he replies simply: "I'll let Frank Sinatra take that one."

It seems to be a reference to the American singer's tune 'My Way' whose lines include:

"Regrets, I've had a few... I did it, I did it my way."

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