Jeremy Corbyn to be ‘readmitted to Labour Party’

Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn (Hollie Adams/PA)
Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn (Hollie Adams/PA) (PA Wire)
18:59pm, Tue 17 Nov 2020
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Jeremy Corbyn will be readmitted to Labour just weeks after he was suspended for saying the scale of anti-Semitism in the party was “dramatically overstated”, PA understands.

A source close to the former opposition leader said Mr Corbyn would be readmitted though has not yet been formally told, following a meeting of the disputes panel of the party’s ruling National Executive Committee.

Mr Corbyn had the whip withdrawn and was suspended from the party over his response to a damning Equality and Human Rights Commission which found that the party had broken the law in its handling of anti-Semitism complaints.

He had claimed that while “one anti-Semite is one too many” the “scale of the problem was also dramatically overstated for political reasons by our opponents inside and outside the party, as well as by much of the media”.

His suspension came after his successor as Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said that people who believed it was “exaggerated, or a factional attack” were “part of the problem” and “should be nowhere near the Labour Party either”.

But Mr Corbyn acknowledged ahead of a meeting of the disputes committee on Tuesday that concerns around anti-Semitism in Labour were not “exaggerated”.

He revealed he had given a statement to the party in an attempt to “clear up any confusion” over his initial response and a broadcast interview given in the wake of the report.

In a statement aimed at clarifying his comments, Mr Corbyn had said: “We must never tolerate anti-Semitism or belittle concerns about it. And that was not my intention in anything I said this week.

“I regret the pain this issue has caused the Jewish community and would wish to do nothing that would exacerbate or prolong it.

“To be clear, concerns about anti-Semitism are neither ‘exaggerated’ nor ‘overstated’.

“The point I wished to make was that the vast majority of Labour Party members were and remain committed anti-racists deeply opposed to anti-Semitism.”

Unite general secretary Len McCluskey, a close ally of Mr Corbyn, said the former leader’s readmission was the “correct, fair and unifying decision”.

He said: “As a party we now move forward to implement the EHRC’s recommendations and redouble our efforts to inspire voters about Keir’s 10 pledges… and the transformation of our nations into fairer places for our people. Only Labour, united and strong, can bring this about.”

But senior Labour MP Dame Margaret Hodge condemned the move, saying it was a “broken outcome from a broken system”.

“A factional, opaque and dysfunctional complaints process could never reach a fair conclusion,” she tweeted. “This is exactly why the EHRC instructed Labour to setup an independent process!

“I simply cannot comprehend why it is acceptable for Corbyn to be a Labour MP if he thinks anti-Semitism is exaggerated and a political attack, refuses to apologise, never takes responsibility for his actions & rejects the findings of the EHRC report. Ridiculous.”

Gideon Falter, chief executive of the Campaign Against Antisemitism, said the lifting of Mr Corbyn’s suspension showed “the Jewish community has been conned” and suggested his suspension was “nothing more than a media stunt to blunt the blow of the EHRC’s report last month”.

He said: “That report condemned Mr Corbyn and his allies for presiding over the institutionalisation of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party.

“By readmitting Mr Corbyn, the Labour Party has once again excused anti-Semitism and proved itself unwilling to address it.”

He said the suspension should have remained in place until the CAA’s complaints against Mr Corbyn had been investigated.

Conservative Party co-chairman Amanda Milling also criticised the decision.

She said: “Keir Starmer is failing to stand up for British Jews.

“By allowing Jeremy Corbyn back into the Labour Party he is sending a message that the shameful antisemitism of recent years should be allowed to continue.”

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