Jeremy Corbyn, a member of the U.K. Parliament, speaks at an event after a protest march against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's continued imprisonment on February 11, 2023 in London.​

Jeremy Corbyn, a member of the U.K. Parliament, speaks at an event after a protest march against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's continued imprisonment on February 11, 2023 in London.

(Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Corbyn Rebukes Starmer for Barring Him From Running With UK Labour Party

"Keir Starmer's statement about my future is a flagrant attack on the democratic rights of Islington North Labour Party members. It is up to them—not party leaders—to decide who their candidate should be."

Former U.K. Labour chief Jeremy Corbyn—a member of Parliament who represents the Greater London constituency Islington North—called out Leader Keir Starmer this week for barring him from running with the party in the nation's next general election.

In a move that outraged progressives worldwide, Corbyn was suspended from Labour in 2020 over allegations of antisemitism, which the leftist contested. Starmer said Wednesday the party had changed "and we are not going back, and that is why Jeremy Corbyn will not stand as a Labour candidate at the next general election."

Corbyn responded on Twitter that "ever since I was elected as a Labour MP 40 years ago, I have fought on behalf of my community for a more equal, caring, and peaceful society. Day in, day out, I am focused on the most important issues facing people in Islington North: poverty, rising rents, the healthcare crisis, the safety of refugees, and the fate of our planet."

"Any attempt to block my candidacy is a denial of due process, and should be opposed by anybody who believes in the value of democracy."

"Keir Starmer's statement about my future is a flagrant attack on the democratic rights of Islington North Labour Party members. It is up to them—not party leaders—to decide who their candidate should be," he argued. "Any attempt to block my candidacy is a denial of due process, and should be opposed by anybody who believes in the value of democracy."

Also taking aim at the Tories now in power, Corbyn charged that "at a time when the government is overseeing the worst cost-of-living crisis in a generation, this is a divisive distraction from our overriding goal: to defeat the Conservative Party at the next general election."

"I am proud to represent the labor movement in Parliament through my constituency," he continued. "I am focused on standing up for workers on the picket line, the marginalized, and all those worried about their futures. That is what I'll continue to do. I suggest the Labour Party does the same."

Former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis said that "few leaders around the world have shown the same commitment to the many, to every single minority, to every decent and worthy campaign against the oligarchy as Jeremy Corbyn has. Labour is all the poorer now that Starmer, seeking to impress the oligarchy, is expelling Jeremy."

Corbyn's statement did not address whether he will seek the seat as an independent, but many anticipate a bitter battle if he does.

Noting that Corbyn has been backed by the grassroots group Momentum since his 2015 campaign to lead the Labour Party—which he did for nearly five years—The Guardianreported Wednesday:

Asked whether he would put Momentum "on notice," Starmer said: "Well, I have many powers and duties and responsibilities in the Labour Party, but that one is not for me, I'm afraid. But look, whatever group or individual in the Labour Party, I think the message from this morning couldn't be clearer."

A Momentum spokesperson said on Wednesday: "Labour is a democratic socialist party—it's written on our membership cards. This party does not belong to one man alone—it belongs to its members and trade unions."

"It should be for Labour members in Islington North to decide their candidate. That is their democratic right."

In a separate analysis for The Guardian Wednesday, deputy political editor Jessica Elgot wrote that if the "former leader capitalizes on huge local support to stand as an independent, party allies and supportive MPs face a dilemma."

"Many on the Labour left still want to keep the party as a broad church where they can fight on issues like nationalization, student fees, trade union rights, and fair pay," she explained. "The question now is whether supporting the leader that first inspired many of them will cost them their ability to influence Labour in government."

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