‘Difficult’ to see how Jeremy Corbyn could have whip restored, says Starmer

The former Labour leader lost the whip in 2020 over his response to the equalities watchdog’s report into antisemitism in the party.

24 April 2022

Sir Keir Starmer said it is “difficult” to see how his predecessor as leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, could have the whip restored following his comments on Nato.

Last week Mr Corbyn suggested military alliances like Nato could build up “greater danger” in the world and should ultimately be disbanded.

The former Labour leader lost the Labour whip in 2020 over his response to the equalities watchdog’s report into antisemitism in the party.

Although he was reinstated as a Labour member after a suspension, Sir Keir Starmer has refused to readmit him to the parliamentary party.

Sir Keir Starmer
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer arrives at BBC Broadcasting House in London, to appear on the BBC One current affairs programme, Sunday Morning

Sir Keir, asked on the BBC’s Sunday Morning programme whether Mr Corbyn could be restored as a Labour MP following the comments, said: “It is very difficult to see how that situation can now be resolved.

“He lost the whip because of his response to the Equalities and Human Rights Commission in relation to antisemitism but I made it very clear, the first thing I said as party leader was that I was going to tear out antisemitism by its roots in our party.

“I’ve also made it clear that our position in the Labour Party is not to accept the false equivalence between Russian aggression and the acts of Nato.”

Told that it sounded as if he was against Mr Corbyn returning as a Labour MP, Sir Keir replied: “I’m very clear on my positions on those two issues, very clear.”

Mr Corbyn, the MP for Islington North and a long-standing critic of Nato, told Times Radio last week that he did not blame Nato for Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine but questioned: “Do military alliances bring peace?”

Mr Corbyn acknowledged the transatlantic alliance was not going to be scrapped immediately but added that people should “look at the process that could happen at the end of the Ukraine war”.

Mr Corbyn has described the choice to remove the Labour whip from him as a “totally unjustified decision”.

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