Starmer’s shifting story on Corbyn suspension shows he may be a worse liar than Johnson

Keir Starmer and Jeremy Corbyn: Starmer was already lined up to stab Mr Corbyn in the back, even in this image.

Labour leader Keir Starmer is in a pickle, and no mistake! His own words are making him as big a liar as Boris Johnson.

But while Johnson is attempting to break with his government’s recent past by cutting loose some of the most offensive people in his former Cabinet and promoting those he thinks play well with the public, Starmer remains mired in the results of his own actions.

The latest revelations about his shocking mistreatment of former party leader Jeremy Corbyn should sink him altogether. Perhaps it is only the support of a true-blue Tory media, that knows Starmer is the best thing that could have happened to Johnson, that keeps the public from turning on him.

The Labour leader currently stands accused of lying about the way Jeremy Corbyn was suspended from party members – unilaterally, by Starmer, in breach of an agreement he had made with the Equality and Human Rights Commission that very day.

He is also said to have broken an agreement he made to bring Corbyn back into the party on publication of a “clarification” statement by the former leader.

Former Unite General Secretary Len McCluskey explained in a Guardian article a few days ago [boldings mine]:

Labour briefed journalists that Starmer hadn’t personally suspended Corbyn; the party’s general secretary, David Evans, had. This mattered because one of the EHRC’s main lessons was that there must be no political interference in disciplinary cases – that such interference could be unlawful. Starmer was careful to tell the BBC Today programme the following morning: “Appropriate action was taken yesterday by the general secretary in suspending Jeremy Corbyn.”

But that’s not what he told me on the phone. His words were: “He put me in an impossible position and I had no choice.”

The EHRC had made it clear in its report that party representatives like Starmer should not involve themselves in disciplinary matters in any way, as it may appear that they were acting for political reasons. And isn’t this precisely what Starmer was doing, on the very day he had promised to abide by the organisation’s recommendations?

Corbyn had been clear that “anyone claiming there is no antisemitism in the Labour party is wrong” and that “one antisemite is one too many”, but he had also said that the scale of the problem had been “dramatically overstated” by opponents and the media. Corbyn sought to substantiate his claim in a broadcast interview, pointing to polling that suggested a vast gap between the perception of the extent of antisemitism in the party (the public thought complaints had been made against a third of members) and what the former leader said was “the reality” that 0.3% of members had actually been subject to disciplinary investigations.

As a victim of false allegations by the Labour Party who has had to do some research on this, I can confirm that Mr Corbyn’s figures were correct. My opinion is that this disparity had been stoked by Labour MPs who had falsely claimed that the party was “institutionally anti-Semitic” (this claim was firmly squashed by the EHRC) but Starmer has taken no action against the individuals concerned, who have clearly dragged Labour into disrepute. Does he have another agenda, perhaps?

Starmer, in his speech, had said that anyone saying antisemitism was “all exaggerated” was part of the problem. Corbyn, of course, hadn’t said it was all exaggerated, but Starmer now raised the bar. He told me on the phone that Corbyn had deliberately undermined him. “It’s as if he’s gone out of his way to contradict that line in my speech,” he said. “I’m beyond angry with Jeremy.”

Here’s a classic tactic of the false anti-Semitism campaign being used by Starmer himself. He said that Mr Corbyn had undermined his statement that anyone saying anti-Semitism in Labour was “all exaggerated” was part of the problem. But Mr Corbyn had not said that, and it is a lie to imply that he did. He had said the scale of the problem had been “dramatically overstated” by opponents and the media – and provided evidence to support the statement.

Starmer’s false claim was an attempt to make us believe a lie. How sad that nobody in the media at the time was even interested in questioning that claim, but took it at face value and published it to the masses!

The following afternoon, Jon Trickett MP and I went to parliament for a meeting with Starmer, his chief of staff Morgan McSweeney, and deputy leader Angela Rayner. Rayner began by requesting our discussion be confidential. Given what happened subsequently, I no longer feel bound by that.

Damned by her own words. Did Rayner know that Starmer and Evans were already planning to renege on any deal mapped out between their new leadership and representatives of Mr Corbyn?

Trickett and Starmer’s senior adviser Simon Fletcher had worked up a draft statement. I joined a conference call with McSweeney. I said: “As far as we are concerned it is our expectation that if Jeremy agrees to the statement then that is the end of the matter and the suspension will be lifted, after due process, and Jeremy will be back to normal.”

McSweeney’s response was: “Yes, that is our expectation, also.”

“And you speak on behalf of Keir?” I asked.

“Yes,” came his reply.

That was the deal for Corbyn’s reinstatement. A month and a half later, in response to questions from Sky News journalist Tom Rayner, Starmer’s spokesperson would say: “There was no deal on reinstatement, no.”

A bald lie, it seems.

When pressed on whether senior Labour staff had advance sight of Corbyn’s statement (which they had in fact co-written), the spokesperson would respond: “We are not going to comment on private conversations.”

That’s a classic line when people don’t want to admit a fact, of course. Again, damning.

And because Starmer, Rayner, Evans, McSweeney and whoever else was in negotiations on Labour’s side have (allegedly) reneged on their agreement, Mr McCluskey is submitting his observations on those negotiations to be used in Mr Corbyn’s court challenge against Labour’s (then-subsequent) withdrawal of the party whip from him:

The formalities around Corbyn’s readmission were handled by a panel of Labour’s national executive committee, which met on 17 November. Corbyn published the agreed statement that morning. “To be clear, concerns about antisemitism are neither ‘exaggerated’ nor ‘overstated,’” read the key passage. “The point I wished to make was that the vast majority of Labour party members were and remain committed antiracists deeply opposed to antisemitism.”

I was – as were many others who had been wrongly accused, I’m sure – bitterly disappointed by this statement from Mr Corbyn, which denied what had happened to us. Was it really “neither ‘exaggerated’ nor ‘overstated'” when a Labour party officer leaked details of the party’s proceedings against me to The Sunday Times, which then published an entirely untrue claim that I was a Holocaust denier? (The newspaper published a lengthy correction a year later, after a lengthy investigation by newspaper watchdog IPSO.)

The vast majority of those who have been accused of anti-Semitism and expelled because of it are also committed anti-racists, falsely accused by the party they supported and trusted, with claims that certainly were ‘exaggerated’ and ‘overstated’. But I digress.

After Mr Corbyn made his statement and Starmer reinstated him into the Labour Party, the usual suspects piped up to cause trouble:

Margaret Hodge tweeted that it was “a broken outcome from a broken system”. The Jewish Labour Movement blamed a “factionally aligned political committee”.

Well, they would. Both have made it clear, over many years, that they have no interest in the well-being of the Labour Party but are they to undermine it, every chance they get. But Starmer never seems to understand that or act to counter it. Odd, that, don’t you think?


it soon became clear he was going to crumble. It was reported he was given an ultimatum by Hodge: she would resign from the party if Corbyn remained a Labour MP.

Good riddance if she had! She should have been booted out years ago.

Starmer reneged on our deal. He withdrew the Labour whip from Corbyn, leaving him in the absurd situation of being an MP and a Labour member, but not a Labour MP. At no time in my discussions had this eventuality been mentioned. The objective of both sides had been to bring matters back to normal.

Corbyn was now told that if he wanted the whip restored he would have to make an apology – which prompted the question: if an apology was so important to the leadership, why didn’t they include one in the statement they co-wrote?

Shifting sands. The evidence suggests that Starmer wasn’t interested in justice; he just wanted an outcome that made him look good. And this shows his political naivete – he was never going to get it. In the anti-Semitism row, the Labour leadership is caught between members who know they are innocent and will fight for it, and activisits both inside and outside the party who know that merely making accusations will cause disruption and disarray in an organisation they hate.

I’m a trade unionist. The one thing you never do is renege on a deal you’ve negotiated… That was when I lost my personal relationship with Starmer. I could no longer trust him. He was not a man of his word.

If this was an isolated example perhaps it could be dismissed. But it increasingly looks like a pattern that extends to policy as well as politics.

Len McCluskey’s article is bad enough for Starmer.

But journalist Alex Nunns has gone further – simply by analysing the Labour leadership’s response and finding that it cannot deny any of the statements of fact.

Instead, Starmer’s office has tried to add new elements to the story, that support him. But in doing so, they undermine his claim that there had been no deal and support Mr McCluskey’s assertion that Starmer lied.

See for yourself:

This is an important point: nobody can trust Starmer or the group within Labour that he leads. Those of us who have fought anti-Semitism accusations know that this is true; if you are accused, your innocence does not matter. It means powerful people in the party want you out and they believe they can smear you with impunity to do it.

Crucially, it seems Starmer – the lawyer – has put himself in a position where he may have perjured himself in court proceedings:

My guess is that, although he has painted himself into a corner, Starmer will try to worm his way out of it on a technicality.

But the British people don’t care about technicalities. They care about how their leaders present themselves.

And Starmer presents himself as a shifty, untrustworthy liar – and certainly not the kind of person we can support into leadership of the UK. If this is how he mistreats Labour members, how badly will he mistreat the rest of us if he gets the chance?

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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3 thoughts on “Starmer’s shifting story on Corbyn suspension shows he may be a worse liar than Johnson

  1. trev

    The Labour party is a cess pit, symbolizing everything that is wrong with Politics, hence it will be a long time before I ever vote again.

    1. rotzeichen

      Lets not confuse the Labour Party with politicians that tell lies. Starmer is by no stretch of the imagination Labour.

  2. R Mitchell

    I cannot vouch for any of this information as I am only reading it, but, if it is true, then the Labour party really is finished unless it changes its present leader.

Comments are closed.