Jeremy Corbyn investigated by parliament’s sleaze watchdog over legal support

Labour MP Neil Coyle wrote to watchdog about former party leader – believing he may have broken rules

Adam Forrest
Thursday 08 July 2021 20:00
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<p>Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn</p>

Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn

Jeremy Corbyn is under investigation by parliament’s sleaze watchdog following allegations he did not properly declare financial support given to him for legal disputes related to antisemitism claims.

The Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards has launched a probe into whether the former Labour leader properly declared his interests.

Labour MP Neil Coyle wrote to the commissioner in May regarding financial support for legal disputes involving Mr Corbyn – who currently sits as an independent MP after he had the Labour whip withdrawn.

In the letter, the Bermondsey and Old Southwark MP, a fierce critic of Mr Corbyn, said he believed his former boss may have broken the code of conduct for MPs.

Mr Coyle claimed that the former Labour leader had “received financial support for legal cases involving him in various legal disputes, principally surrounding antisemitism” – and claimed it had not been properly declared.

At the time of the letter, Mr Corbyn told Sky News: “I will be liaising with the commissioner in response to Neil Coyle’s correspondence.”

On his entry on the register of members’ interests, Mr Corbyn said he was “likely to benefit from a legal fund” set up in October 2020 “to help meet any legal costs which I or my supporters incur in relation to allegations of defamation”.

Mr Corbyn said at the time that the issue had been “dramatically overstated for political reasons” by his opponents and the media – but later said he did not intend to “belittle concerns” about antisemitism.

The former Labour leader had the party whip withdrawn in October 2020 following his response to an Equality and Human Rights Commission report into antisemitism during his time in charge of the party.

In the wake of Labour’s defeat at the Hartlepool by-election in May, Diane Abbott and others on the Labour left called on Sir Keir Starmer to reinstate the whip and “unify” the party.

Mr Corbyn’s office has been contacted for comment on the watchdog’s investigation.

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