POLITICS
18/11/2020 5:24 AM AEDT | Updated 18/11/2020 7:36 AM AEDT

Jeremy Corbyn Has Labour Party Membership Reinstated

Keir Starmer acknowledges “another painful day for the Jewish community" as ex-leader issued with “warning of conduct” letter as a sanction.

Jeremy Corbyn has had his Labour membership reinstated, sparking outrage among Jewish members and jubilation among left-wingers. 

The former leader was issued with a “warning of conduct” letter as a sanction after the party’s ruling National Executive Committee (NEC) decided he should be readmitted, HuffPost UK has been told by a senior party source.

Corbyn was suspended from the party in October over his reaction to the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s (EHRC) report into anti-Semitism in the party.

The watchdog found the party committed unlawful acts of harassment and discrimination while Corbyn was leader.

In response Corbyn said allegations about anti-Semitism had been “dramatically overstated” by his political opponents. 

Now, after 19 days, Corbyn is once again a member of the Labour Party. 

Corbyn has said he is “pleased” to have been readmitted to the party, adding: “Our movement must now come together to oppose and defeat this deeply damaging Conservative government.”

But Labour leader Keir Starmer said it has been “another painful day for the Jewish community” as he vowed not to allow “a focus on one individual to prevent us from doing the vital work of tackling anti-Semitism”.

Labour MP Margaret Hodge called the result “ridiculous”, tweeting: “This is a broken outcome from a broken system.

“A factional, opaque and dysfunctional complaints process could never reach a fair conclusion.

“This is exactly why the EHRC instructed Labour to setup an independent process!”

Fellow MP Neil Coyle, a prominent critic of Corbyn, suggested the EHRC may reopen its investigation. 

He said: “The EHRC found the Labour Party guilty of unlawful discrimination and instructed us to implement a new, independent complaints process and end political interference.

“That could not be more demonstrably necessary. The EHRC may not be done with Labour yet.”

The Jewish Labour Movement called the news “extraordinary” after the former leader failed to offer an apology. 

JLM also branded the NEC group which overturned the suspension “a factionally aligned political committee” loyal to the party’s left. 

A spokesman said: “After his failure of leadership to tackle anti-Semitism, so clearly set out in the EHRC’s report, any reasonable and fair-minded observer would see Jeremy Corbyn’s statement today as insincere and wholly inadequate.

“He has offered no apology for his total failure of leadership to tackle anti-Semitism in the Labour Party, or contrition for his role in allowing political manipulation of the disciplinary process by his own office in his name.

“His statement on the day of the report’s publication made no mention of this and was grossly offensive as it downplayed the reality of antisemitism in the Labour Party. Today’s decision will only embolden those who agreed with him.

“Once again we find ourselves having to remind the Labour Party that Jeremy Corbyn is not the victim of Labour anti-Semitism – Jewish members are.”

The Board of Deputies of British Jews said the decision to reinstate Corbyn was a “retrograde step” for Labour.

Its president Marie van der Zyl, Jewish leadership chairman Jonathan Goldstein and community security trust chief executive Mark Gardner said: “Today’s decision is a retrograde step for the party in its relations with the Jewish community. Jeremy Corbyn’s dismissive approach to the damning EHRC’s findings rightly saw him suspended.

“For Jeremy Corbyn’s allies on the NEC to expedite his case whilst hundreds of other cases languished under his tenure, and his confected non-apology earlier today adds insult to injury.

“This politicisation of the process goes against what the EHRC recommended just last month. Labour’s mountain to climb to win back the trust of our community just got higher.”

 

 

Karen Pollock, chief executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, said: ”’What message does this send?

″‘Zero tolerance’ either means zero tolerance or it’s meaningless. The scathing report from the EHRC less than three weeks ago outlined a stream of racism and discrimination by the Labour Party on Jeremy Corbyn’s watch. Yet here we are.

“Once again Corbyn has failed to take responsibility and the Labour Party have let him off the hook.”

Unite general secretary Len McCluskey, a staunch ally of Corbyn’s, called the readmission a “correct, fair and unifying decision”.

He tweeted: “As a party we now move forward to implement the EHRC’s recommendations and redouble our efforts to inspire voters about Keir’s 10 pledges and the transformation of our nations into fairer places for our people.

“Only Labour, united and strong, can bring this about.”

Keir Starmer, who took over as party leader in April, said the EHRC report was a “day of shame” for the party and he was “truly sorry”.

He said anyone who believed accusations were “exaggerated or a factional attack” was “part of the problem” and “should be nowhere near the Labour Party”.

The readmission of Corbyn is likely to spark fresh infighting amongst the party’s ranks, however. 

Meanwhile, Amanda Milling, co-chair of the Conservative Party, said: “Keir Starmer is failing to stand up for British Jews.

“By allowing Jeremy Corbyn back into the Labour Party he is sending a message that the shameful antisemitism of recent years should be allowed to continue.”

This is a breaking news story and will be updated. Follow HuffPost UK on Twitter here, and on Facebook here.