In response to the headline, this should give you a fairly good idea of the situation:
Don’t believe the MSM, Jeremy Corbyn will stand as an independent in Islington North.
— Rachael Swindon (@Rachael_Swindon) February 16, 2023
It’s a response to a unilateral declaration by current Labour leader Keir Starmer that former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will not be allowed to stand as a candidate for the party in the next general election.
Starmer should not have the ability to make such a statement, as any decision over who represents an individual constituency should be up to its local Labour members, and Mr Corbyn has not done anything to disqualify him from standing – we have a decision by the party’s ruling NEC that says so.
The announcement has generated a large amount of opposition:
So the cards are finally on the table.
Starmer's got a fight on his hands now, and I for one am going to make damn sure it's a fight that's fought right out in the open.
Gloves are off.#ItWasAScamhttps://t.co/Fwf5XgvYVd
— simon maginn (@simonmaginn) February 15, 2023
So Starmer has now said that Corbyn won’t be allowed to stand as a Labour MP at the next election, despite calling him a friend in 2020, praising him to the hilt & promising to keep the policies from the 2019 manifesto.
Starmer is the biggest liar in the U.K.
— Phil Gould 🇵🇸🖕 (@bongosaloon) February 15, 2023
And, as mentioned above, there is concern that Starmer had not right to make the announcement he did:
Have the rules in the PLP SO been followed? Do they grant authority to the Party leader to unilaterally remove the whip? for how long? on the basis of an expression of opinion not conduct?
— Duncan ShipleyDalton (@BaronVonDuncs) February 16, 2023
And there’s the personal element – that Starmer and his supporters are trying to bully Mr Corbyn out of the party whose aims he used to represent so well but which they have perverted into what might well be described as a right-wing Tory/Establishment front:
This 👇👇👇 institutional abuse and of us! We should all be calling starmer and his little right wing zealots out – Corbyn's telling us we should in his final words of statement – I'm going to help him campaign if can https://t.co/AXuaqMRG7u
— Rin 💙 #GTTO (@rins2pworth) February 16, 2023
Mr Corbyn himself is certainly not taking this lying down, as his statement makes clear:
A statement on my future as the MP for Islington North. pic.twitter.com/LFOgujYGwN
— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) February 15, 2023
It says [boldings mine]:
“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.
“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. 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.
“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 labour movement in Parliament through my constituency. I am focused on standing up for workers on the picket line, the marginalised, and all those worried about their futures. That is what I’ll continue to do. I suggest the Labour Party does the same.”
So in Mr Corbyn’s view, Starmer is divisive, flagrantly undemocratic and flouts due process.
I can see a challenge coming down the line – possibly in the courts.
And even if Starmer wins, I can see Mr Corbyn finally accepting that the Labour Party has abandoned him, and standing as an independent – which is what Starmer should fear more than anything else.
His people do:
Labour party officials are said to be looking for a strong candidate in the constituency, which Corbyn has held since 1983. “The local party is likely to be difficult and the campaign will be very tough if Jeremy stands as an independent,” a source told the Guardian.
Bring it on, then. If Starmer succeeds on blocking Mr Corbyn out of Labour, he won’t block him out of Islington North – and he will create a much bigger problem for himself than he has already.
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