© Bloomberg. Jeremy corbyn
(Bloomberg) – Jeremy Corbyn’s suspension from the UK Labor Party he led until April has threatened to reopen divisions within the party after six months of relative calm under new leader Keir Starmer.
The UK’s main opposition took action against Corbyn on Thursday after he failed to fully accept the findings of an Equality and Human Rights Commission investigation into anti-Semitism which has concluded that the party had broken the law under his watch.
Corbyn said on Twitter he “would challenge political intervention to suspend me.” He was backed by the Socialist Campaign Group, a group of more than 30 Labor MPs – representing about a sixth of the parliamentary party – who pledged to “work tirelessly” for his reinstatement.
Corbyn’s suspension is “an act of grave injustice which, if not reversed, will create chaos within the party and in so doing jeopardize Labor’s chances of a general election victory,” Len McCluskey, general secretary of Unite the Union, the party’s largest affiliate and a major donor, said in a statement. “A divided party will be doomed to defeat.”
It’s a time of danger for Starmer, who has pledged to make Labor eligible again after his fourth consecutive electoral defeat in December, and his worst since 1935. Corbyn’s five years of responsibility have been beset with division – as well as allegations of anti-Semitism. The longtime socialist enjoyed grassroots support, but had a difficult relationship with his own MPs, who were trying to regain control of the party.
But an instant YouGov poll on Thursday showed 58% of Britons believe Corbyn’s suspension was the right decision, compared with 13% who thought it was the wrong one. Of those who voted for the Corbyn-led party in last year’s election, 41% supported its suspension, compared with 26% who opposed.
The luminaries of labor have also lined up to praise the movement. Former Acting Labor leader Harriet Harman called Corbyn’s suspension ‘the right thing to do’, while Margaret Hodge, a Labor MP who raised concerns about anti-Semitism within the party, welcomed this decision.
‘Enough is enough’
“Labor is finally saying enough is enough, anti-Semitism can never be tolerated in our party,” Hodge said on Twitter. “Now we can finally move on.”
Since taking control of the party, Starmer has focused on rebuilding relations with the Jewish community as he attempts to turn the Labor Party into a legitimate standby government. Although fraught with risk, the suspension will further take Starmer away from the previous leadership – although Boris Johnson’s Tories continued their attacks on him as ‘Corbyn’s man’ on Thursday.
Charges of anti-Semitism severely hampered Labor’s attempt to power under Corbyn, and the commission said in its report that the party under his leadership broke equality law by dealing with complaints of anti-Jewish prejudice. He said there were “serious failings of leadership” and “political interference” in dealing with complaints of anti-Semitism.
She also found two cases of illegal conduct linked to the use of anti-Semitic tropes – using written or verbal expressions or images to suggest stereotypes – and to suggestions that the complaints were “slander” and “bogus” .
Responding to the report, Corbyn said he “did not accept all of his findings” and that the issue was “dramatically overestimated for political reasons” by the media and his opponents.
“One anti-Semite is too many anti-Semite, but the scale of the problem has also been dramatically overestimated for political reasons by our opponents inside and outside the party, as well as by much of the media,” he said. he said on Facebook (NASDAQ :).
The stance forced Labor to act, blaming both Corbyn’s comments and “his failure to withdraw them afterwards.” The suspension means the former leader will no longer represent Labor in the House of Commons either.
“I have made it clear that we would not condone anti-Semitism or the denial of anti-Semitism by suggesting that it is exaggerated or factional,” Starmer said after announcing his predecessor’s suspension. “That’s why I’m disappointed with Jeremy Corbyn’s response, and that’s why appropriate action has been taken, which I fully support.”
“Day of shame”
Earlier Thursday, Starmer called the report a “day of shame” for the Labor Party and apologized for the “pain and sorrow” caused to the Jewish people. He pledged to fully implement the report’s recommendations and to provide an action plan to the committee within six weeks.
He also issued the warning which gained prominence with subsequent events: “Those who deny that there is a problem are part of the problem.”
The challenge for Starmer now is how to bring the party together as Corbyn’s loyalists rally around their former leader, including his former finance spokesman John McDonnell and his former home affairs spokesman Diane. Abbott.
“The day we should all move forward and take whatever action is necessary to combat anti-Semitism, Jeremy Corbyn’s suspension is deeply flawed,” McDonnell said on Twitter. “In the interest of party unity, let’s find a way to undo and solve this problem.”
© 2020 Bloomberg L.P.