Former U.K. Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn is expected to seek reelection as an independent next year after current Leader Keir Starmer and his establishment allies on Tuesday made good on their pledge to formally block the leftist member of Parliament from running under the party's banner.
After Starmer publicly
declared last month that "Jeremy Corbyn will not stand as a Labour candidate at the next general election," the party's National Executive Committee (NEC) voted 22-12 on Starmer's motion to not endorse Corbyn's candidacy.
The Timesreported that Corbyn's allies say the MP has already decided to run as an independent, with one source telling the London newspaper: "It's become personal. There will be an announcement by the end of the week."
Our message is clear: We are not going anywhere. Neither is our determination to stand up for a better world.
Corbyn has represented the Greater London constituency Islington North for four decades and served as an independent MP since he was
suspended from Labour in 2020 due to a battle over allegations of antisemitism in the party.
After news broke of Starmer's motion on Monday, Corbyn charged that the party leader "has broken his commitment to respect the rights of Labour members and denigrated the democratic foundation of the party."
Noting that Islington North voters have elected him as a Labour MP 10 consecutive times since 1983, Corbyn said that "I am proud to represent a community that supports vulnerable people, joins workers on the picket line, and fights for transformative change."
Also calling out the ruling Conservative Party, Corbyn continued:
This latest move represents a leadership increasingly unwilling to offer solutions that meet the scale of the crises facing us all. As the government plunges millions into poverty and demonizes refugees, Keir Starmer has focused his opposition on those demanding a more progressive and humane alternative.
I joined the Labour Party when I was 16 years old because, like millions of others, I believed in a redistribution of wealth and power. Our message is clear: We are not going anywhere. Neither is our determination to stand up for a better world.
Some other MPs, constituents, journalists, and leftists from around the world have, since Monday, blasted Starmer's "disgraceful" move and expressed solidarity with Corbyn.
Greek leftist MP Yanis Varoufakis warned that "Starmer's Labour Party is close to the point of no return. Blocking Jeremy Corbyn from standing as a Labour candidate is an affront to decency and a declaration of civil war within a party about to metamorphose from a broad church to a toxic sect."
Critics have highlighted that in February 2020, Starmer said: "The selections for Labour candidates needs to be more democratic and we should end NEC impositions of candidates. Local party members should select their candidates for every election."
In a joint statement Tuesday, officers from the Islington North Constituency Labour Party (CLP) denounced the move by Starmer and the NEC.
"We believe in the democratic right of all constituency parties to choose their prospective parliamentary candidate," the CLP leaders from Corbyn's area said. "Therefore, we reject the NEC's undue interference in Islington North, which undermines our goal of defeating the Conservatives and working with our communities for social justice."
Noting the CLP's statement in a series of tweets Tuesday, Guardian columnist Owen Jones, who identifies as a socialist and a longtime Labour voter, also took aim at Starmer:
While Starmer was seeking his leadership role, "I think he said a lot of things he didn't believe at all, because he thought that if he didn't, then he wouldn't be elected leader of the Labour Party. And he was absolutely right in that calculation," Jones asserted.
"A lot of Starmer's cheerleaders see themselves as upstanding liberals who believe in decency, honesty, and integrity in politics. They don't," he said. "They disregard the colossal deceit of Starmer because they hate the left, and they believe anything done to crush the left is a good thing."
"Anyway, I don't think it will end well for a Labour leadership which is founded on a load of lies, essentially believes in nothing, and is ahead in the polls solely because of Tory self-destruction," Jones added. "They'll win the election by default, then political reality will intrude."
The grassroots group Momentum, which has supported Corbyn since his successful 2015 campaign to lead the Labour Party, called Tuesday "a dark day for democracy."
While there was previously no appeals process for anyone blocked by the NEC, Sky Newsrevealed Tuesday as the party faces "accusations of fixing parliamentary selections for candidates who are preferred by the leadership," those "who wish to stand for Labour at the next election will be given the right to appeal if the party rejects their bid to become an MP."
According to the outlet, "Candidates will be provided with written feedback as to why they 'fell below the standards expected of a Westminster parliamentary candidate,' while an appeals panel will be convened to hear the claim."
Welcoming the development on Twitter, Momentum said that "socialists and trade unionists have been wrongly excluded in favor of those favored by a narrow London clique. The result has been a cohort of prospective MPs dominated by the professional political classes, making Labour less representative of the communities we seek to serve."
"This new process should mark an end to the Labour right's factional abuses of selections process," the group added. "In Islington North as everywhere else—let local members decide."