Independent Corbyn expelled from Labour

Jeremy Corbyn has been expelled from the Labour Party after he announced he is standing as an independent candidate in the General Election.

The former Labour leader, who was blocked from standing again for his old party, on Friday said he will seek election in the Islington North constituency he has represented for 40 years.

Sir Keir Starmer said his predecessor’s move was “a matter for Jeremy”, as he defended his decision to ban Mr Corbyn from standing for Labour as part of his efforts to “tear antisemitism out of our party by the roots”.

Mr Corbyn has been suspended by Labour since 2020 after he refused to fully accept the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s findings that the party broke equality law when he was in charge and said antisemitism had been “dramatically overstated for political reasons”.

Shortly after the veteran MP announced his intention to stand as an independent, a source told the PA news agency that he had been informed he is no longer a Labour Party member.

Mr Corbyn vowed to be “an independent voice for equality, democracy and peace”.

His candidacy will come as a headache for Sir Keir just as he is kicking off his campaign to replace Rishi Sunak in Downing Street.

Left-wing pressure group Momentum hit out at Sir Keir for treating the people of Islington “with contempt” by blocking Mr Corbyn and accused him of “driving out the socialist politics he represented, in favour of elite interests”.

Reacting to his predecessor’s move, Sir Keir told Sky News: “I’m very clear, the first thing I said as Labour leader is that I would tear antisemitism out of our party by the roots.

“That was my first solemn promise, and I followed through on that, and that is why I took the decision that Jeremy Corbyn would not stand as a Labour candidate at this election.

“Now what’s happened with Jeremy standing as an independent, that’s a matter for him.

“We will have an excellent Labour candidate in Islington North making the same argument as we will across the country, which is it’s time to end 14 years of chaos and division, it’s time to turn the page and a fresh start and rebuild our country together.”

Jewish Labour former minister Dame Margaret Hodge was more blunt, telling the BBC’s World At One programme: “I tended to be in the camp that said, ‘he’s such a tribally loyal person to the party, he won’t stand’. So I’m shocked that he’s doing that.

“The Labour Party has given him massive opportunities in his life. I think he abused them in relation to antisemitism when he became leader.”

Mr Corbyn told his local Islington Tribune newspaper that he would fight to retain a seat he has represented for 40 years, adding: “We have to stand up and defend our rights.”

He appealed to lifelong Labour voters, saying that, “I am here to represent the people of Islington North on exactly the same principles that I’ve stood by my whole life: social justice, human rights and peace”.

Mr Corbyn went on to say that “these principles are needed now more than ever before”, vowing to defend “a genuine alternative to the corrupt years of this Tory government”, including rent controls, public ownership of energy and water, the abolition of the two-child benefits cap, a Green New Deal, and an ethical foreign policy based on peace and human rights”.

He added: “When I was first elected, I made a promise to stand by my constituents no matter what. In Islington North, we keep our promises.”

Mr Corbyn, who led Labour from 2015 to 2020, has been sitting as an independent MP for Islington North since 2020 when he had the Labour whip suspended.

Although his suspension was lifted later in 2020, Sir Keir did not readmit him into the parliamentary party.

The current Labour leader, who once served as Mr Corbyn’s shadow Brexit secretary, has sought to distance his party from his predecessor’s leadership under the mantra of a “changed Labour Party”.

Momentum chairwoman Kate Dove said: “He wanted to run again as the Labour candidate and the local party backed him too.

“But Starmer and his Westminster clique again denied local people the chance to choose their own candidate and blocked Jeremy. Starmer has treated the people of Islington with contempt, setting the stage for a divisive and distracting election campaign.”

She added that Sir Keir’s “attacks on Jeremy were never just about one man – they were about driving out the socialist politics he represented, in favour of elite interests”.

But the Campaign Against Antisemitism welcomed Mr Corbyn’s expulsion from Labour, with a spokesperson saying: “Good riddance.

“The man who made the Jewish community feel so unwelcome in Labour has finally been told that he is unwelcome in the Party he once led.”

Labour on Friday afternoon announced local campaigner and Islington councillor, Praful Nargund, as its candidate to run against Mr Corbyn in Islington North.

Mr Nargund said: “It’s an honour to have been chosen as Labour’s candidate for Islington North and I look forward to the campaign ahead. I promise to be a truly local MP, that represents all families and businesses that call this special place their home.”

Mr Nargund could face an uphill battle, as Mr Corbyn gained a majority of 26,188 in the seat at the 2019 election when running as a Labour candidate.

Meanwhile, another former Labour MP, Claudia Webbe, announced she will battle again for her Leicester East seat as an independent candidate.

Ms Webbe was expelled from the Labour Party in 2021 after being convicted of harassing a love rival.

Published: by Radio NewsHub