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LABOUR MP Diane Abbott questioned yesterday whether Sir Keir Starmer would ever have been elected Labour leader if members knew how he would act against his predecessor, Jeremy Corbyn.
On Wednesday, Sir Keir blocked Mr Corbyn from sitting as a Labour MP despite the latter’s re-instatement as a party member by Labour’s national executive committee (NEC).
Former shadow home secretary Ms Abbott said that excluding Mr Corbyn was “wrong” and was “no way to unite the party.”
She condemned the decision that was made with “no notice, no consultation, no right of appeal, no redress, no due process at all,” while stressing that “Mr Starmer was a human-rights lawyer.”
Ms Abbott was one of more than 30 MPs and peers in the Socialist Campaign Group calling for Mr Corbyn to have the whip restored.
The group said: “The decision not to restore the whip to Jeremy Corbyn is wrong and damaging to the Labour Party.”
Former shadow justice secretary Richard Burgon said: “Keir stood to be party leader promising unity in our movement.
“But [Wednesday’s] unjust decision has created wider divisions in our party. The Tories are no doubt delighted.
“There’s an easy and just way to sort this: the hearing has ruled so now restore the whip to Jeremy Corbyn.”
Len McCluskey, general secretary of Unite — Labour’s biggest donor — said the refusal to restore the whip to Mr Corbyn was “vindictive and vengeful” as he urged Sir Keir to “pull back from the brink.”
He accused Sir Keir of acting in “bad faith” and having “disregarded process” by not restoring the whip after the panel of five NEC members re-admitted Mr Corbyn to the party on Tuesday.
Mr McCluskey added: “It very much looks like a witchhunt and persecution of a decent man.”
In October, Mr Corbyn was suspended in the wake of a report into the handling of anti-semitism complaints in Labour. He had said that “the scale of the problem [of anti-semitism in the Labour Party] was dramatically overstated for political reasons by our opponents inside and outside the party, as well as by much of the media.”
In a post on Facebook before the NEC’s decision to readmit him, Mr Corbyn said that the original statement had not intended to “belittle concerns” about anti-semitism.
He added that he supported the current leadership’s acceptance of the EHRC report in full.
The Communist Party’s political committee urged socialists and trade unionists to “rise to the challenge thrown down by Starmer and his hand-picked Labour general secretary David Evans to purge their party of socialist influence.”
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