Reinstate Jeremy Corbyn
Update: Subsequent to this article, Corbyn refused to apologise for what he said, and refused to accept a carefully crafted deal to readmit him to the PLP. He remains a member of the party and will not be allowed to stand as an MP — and I agree with that.
Jeremy Corbyn stood for election in Islington North as a Labour MP, on a manifesto he had co-authored and on his record as a lifelong anti-racist. To suspend him from the Labour Party, and withdraw the whip, for expressing an opinion is unjust — however much Labour HQ disagrees with that opinion.
I urge the General Secretary to reinstate Jeremy immediately. If there is a complaint against a senior MP and Privy Council member it should be stated, heard and dealt with in that order, not through an arbitrary suspension that deprives him of his rights, and deprives his CLP and constituents of their representative in the PLP.
The EHRC report should be accepted in full and implemented in full.
Its publication should have been a day to draw the line under Labour’s mishandling of the problem of anti-semitism in the party during Jeremy’s leadership. The report was fair, and cleared the party of institutional racism, but identified three serious breaches of equalities law, for which Jeremy should have taken responsibility — above all the political interference by his own office in the disciplinary process.
Keir Starmer’s response was also fair: the EHRC report should have been one where the party tried to rebuild bridges to those in the Jewish community that lost trust in Labour over the anti-semitism allegations.
Jeremy’s statement was misjudged, not only in its tone but in the absence of an apology to the membership for the mistakes made, and to the Jewish community. The people who advised him not to make it were right to do so.
But the suspension is unjust.
To those on the right of the party, and outside it, celebrating Jeremy’s suspension as a political triumph and urging a return to the policies of austerity, privatisation and expeditionary warfare: dream on.
The left is a legitimate and historic part of the coalition that makes up the Labour Party. Jeremy Corbyn transformed British politics irrevocably in 2015 and created a mass party, full of people passionate about social, economic and climate justice. We are not going away.
The best way forward is to withdraw the suspension. We should devoting all our efforts to fighting a government that’s happy to see children starve and refugees drown, not fighting internal battles.