Jeremy Corbyn: Labour MP weighs in on deselection row
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Speaking to Channel 4 News, Sir Keir Starmer said it was now a matter for Jeremy Corbyn whether he will choose to apologise for comments claiming anti-semitism was “dramatically overstated for political reasons”. But until then, Mr Corbyn will remain an independent MP and not be allowed back into the Labour Party, he said, as he appeared to turn his back on the Labour leader and distance himself further from the former Labour leader and his supporters.
Sir Keir’s administration are reportedly forging ahead with plans to select a new Labour candidate for Islington North, which Mr Corbyn represented as a Labour MP from 1983 until October 2020, from when he became an independent MP after having the Whip removed.
Ms Newman asked: “Are you looking to deselect Jeremy Corbyn now so he can’t stand again as a Labour MP?
Sir Keir hit back: “Jeremy Corbyn’s position at the moment is that he has not got the labour whip for reasons that everybody understands, in relation to his response to the anti-Semitism report.
“That remains the situation and will remain the situation until something is done about it.”
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The Labour leader was then pushed on whether he will “show leadership” and “deselect” the former Labour MP.
But Sir Keir stressed that because The Whip has been removed from Mr Corbyn he is not a Labour MP, therefore he cannot be deselected from the party.
The Labour leader was then asked whether Mr Corbyn would be deselected at the next election, Sir Keir reiterated his comments about his inability to deselect a non-Labour MP.
Asked whether Mr Corbyn will “stand under a Labour banner” at the next election, Sir Keir said the issue was a matter for Mr Corbyn.
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He explained: “At the moment he is not an MP and so I don’t see how that is possible.
“That is a matter for him and the chief whip.
“We have been in this position for over a year now!”
The comments come as allies of Sir Keir told the Sunday Times that an apology by Mr Corbyn would now be too little, too late and they would try to block the left-winger from standing for Labour
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They told the paper: “We are determined to bring this to a head. The current position is not sustainable.”
Mr Corbyn was suspended from Labour in October 2020 after claiming the scale of anti-Semitism had been ‘dramatically overstated for political reasons’ by opponents inside and outside Labour, along with the media.
His suspension was later overturned by the party’s National Executive Committee but he has not had the party whip – that allows him to represent it in the Commons – returned.
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