Corbyn shouldn’t sit as Labour MP until he apologises to Jewish community, says Nandy

‘Until he does I don’t think he should sit as a Labour MP,’ shadow foreign secretary says

Ashley Cowburn
Political Correspondent
Tuesday 25 May 2021 11:15
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Today's daily politics briefing

Jeremy Corbyn should not have the Labour whip reinstated until he apologises to the Jewish community “for the hurt that he caused”, the senior frontbencher Lisa Nandy has said.

The shadow foreign secretary said Sir Keir Starmer was “right” to the withdraw the whip from the former Labour leader last year after he was suspended over over his response to the 2020 report by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) into the party’s handling of antisemitism allegations.

Mr Corbyn has since been readmitted to the party — following a meeting of Labour’s governing body — but his successor, Sir Keir, has so far refused to restore the parliamentary whip, meaning he can not sit as a Labour MP.

At the time, Sir Keir said the decision would be kept under review and that his predecessor had “undermined and set back out work in restoring the trust and confidence in the Labour Party’s ability to tackle antisemitism”.

The campaigning group Momentum — set up to support Corbyn’s policy agenda — has previously accused Sir Keir of engaging in a “blatant act of political interference, creating a precedent whereby the leader of the Labour Party can in effect pass additional and contradictory rulings and dole out punishment to go with it”.

Pressed on why Mr Corbyn was still in the party, Ms Nandy told LBC on Monday: “There was a process that was followed where he was suspended from the Labour Party and then readmitted in accordance with the rules.

“It’s not for me as a senior politician to interfere with those rules — that’s how we got into this mess in the first place,” she said.

“The Equality and Human Rights Commission said it was not acceptable for friends or those close to the leadership to try and influence the outcome of decisions, but I have to say I think Keir Starmer was right to withdraw the whip.

“As far as I’m aware, Jeremy hasn’t apologised for the hurt that he caused to the Jewish community and until he does I don’t think he should sit as a Labour MP.”

In a letter to Mr Corbyn in 2020, Labour’s former chief whip, Nick Brown, said his response to the EHRC report had caused “distress and pain” to the Jewish community .

Speaking earlier this month, Diane Abbott, a close ally of Mr Corbyn who served as his shadow Home Secretary said restoring the whip could be “unifying measure” for the party.

Ms Nandy’s comments also came as a critic of the former leader, the Bermondsey and Old Southwark MP Neil Coyle, wrote to the Parliamentary Commissioner on Standards over allegations Mr Corbyn has not declared financial support given to him for legal disputes involving antisemitism.

In his letter, Mr Coyle claimed that he had - “from multiple sources” - come to understand that Mr Corbyn, who now sits as an independent MP, had “received financial support for legal cases involving him in various legal disputes, principally surrounding antisemitism”, but that he said had not been properly declared.

Speaking to Sky News, Mr Corbyn said: “I will be liaising with the commissioner in response to Neil Coyle’s correspondence.”

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