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Labour ‘more divided than ever,’ socialists warn after party's ‘anti-democratic’ suspension of Corbyn

by Bethany Rielly

ANGER grew today over the “anti-democratic” suspension of Jeremy Corbyn, as socialists warned that the Labour Party is now “more divided than ever.”

Momentum said the “unjust” suspension of Mr Corbyn from the Labour Party “makes a mockery” of Labour leader Sir Kier Starmer’s pledge to be a uniting force.

The left-wing pressure group held an online rally last night to demand the former party leader’s reinstatement. 

Mr Corbyn was suspended on Thursday over his response to the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s (EHRC) report into allegations of anti-semitism within the party.

Momentum co-chairs Andrew Scattergood and Gaya Sriskanthan described the suspension as a “factional attack on the left.”

They said in a joint statement that the party is “more divided than ever.”

“We condemn this anti-democratic and unfair suspension, not just because it targets Jeremy Corbyn,” they said.

“It sets a precedent for political and factional suspensions that will see Labour Party members wrongly driven out of a party they have given so much to.”

“The attack on Corbyn is an attack on the socialist ideals that motivate Labour Party members, and that appeal to so much of the country.” 

Protests have been organised in Manchester, Oxford and Coventry, while petitions demanding Mr Corbyn’s reinstatement have also been started. 

One backed by Jewish Voice for Labour had reached almost 60,000 signatures as the Star went to press, while another had been signed by nearly 5,000 within an hour of Labour MP Diane Abbott posting it on social media. 

“He has always stood with us. We must stand with him,” the former shadow home secretary said.

Other socialist Labour MPs led calls for Mr Corbyn’s reinstatement, describing his suspension as “unjust.”

Wansbeck MP Ian Lavery said that a civil war within the party “spells political failure.”

“Divided parties do not win elections. I’ll continue to fight against all forms of injustice in what ever form that might take and I’ll campaign tirelessly for the reinstatement of [Jeremy Corbyn.]”

Unison assistant general secretary Roger McKenzie, who spoke at last night’s Momentum rally, described Mr Corbyn as a “staunch ally in politics in the battle against racism, spending decades fighting racist policies including in his own party where few had the courage.” 

The People’s Assembly Against Austerity expressed its “full support and solidarity.”

“The decision to suspend Jeremy is not only damaging to the Labour Party, but is also damaging in a period where maximum unity is required to defeat the strategy and tactics of this Tory government — which is quite literally killing working people.”

The Communist Party of Britain claimed that the suspension was part of “a longer and bigger drive to marginalise socialists and left-wing ideas in the Labour Party and the wider labour movement.” 

“The prospect of a left-led Labour government next time around, led by a socialist who opposes British imperialism’s foreign and military policies, prompted the ruling class to intensify efforts to discredit Corbyn and his allies,” the party said in a statement. 

“But the left-right battle in the Labour Party is a central part of the same struggle in the wider movement and in society itself.

“That is why socialists and the Labour-affiliated trade unions must unite in solidarity with Corbyn, demand his reinstatement and fight to reverse the drive to marginalise the left in the Labour Party.”

The EHRC report concluded that the party was responsible for “unlawful acts of harassment and discrimination” as well as “political interference” in the handling of anti-semitism complaints.

Responding to it, Mr Corbyn said that “anyone claiming there is no anti-semitism in the Labour Party is wrong” but that the “scale of the problem was overstated for political reasons by our opponents.”

He was suspended after Sir Keir pledged to remove anyone who claimed that allegations of anti-semitism within the party were exaggerated.

Mr Corbyn has pledged to fight the decision.

Left-wing news site Skwawkbox claimed today that the party is now facing a tsunami of resignations of members.

In an email reportedly sent by Labour general secretary David Evans, regional teams were asked today to help with an “influx of emails over the last 24 hours” regarding memberships. 

Sir Keir said that there was “no reason for a civil war.” 

“I want to unite the party — that is the basis on which I ran my leadership campaign. I want to unite the party to stop the faction,” he said.

Unite leader Len McCluskey also called on members to stay in the party.

Outside the union’s London headquarters, he told Sky News: “My message, really, to literally hundreds of thousands of our members who are already expressing their anger, is to stay in the party.

“We need the party to be united, working people out there need us, need a Labour government — so stay in the party and I’m hoping that we will be able to get through this fairly quickly to everybody’s satisfaction.”

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