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Left MPs demand Corbyn's reinstatement at passionate Arise online rally

LABOUR MPs vowed to intensify pressure to see Jeremy Corbyn readmitted to the party in an online rally organised by Arise on Monday night.

The former leader’s vision changed the political landscape of Britain, the meeting heard.

“Jeremy’s message really spoke to me and my community,” Poplar and Limehouse MP Apsana Begum said, arguing that Labour members of black and minority ethnic backgrounds had felt “kept out” of key positions before Mr Corbyn, but his democratisation of the party had allowed people like her to “come up through the grassroots.” 

Socialist Campaign Group secretary and Leeds East MP Richard Burgon said party rightwingers who wanted to get rid of Mr Corbyn wanted to permanently erase his political legacy. “Such views are shared by powerful media outlets,” he said, noting that the Telegraph had called on Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer to “drive Corbynism out of the Labour Party altogether.”

Doing so would mean expelling hundreds of thousands of members, especially younger members and trade unionists, he said. 

Wansbeck’s Ian Lavery remembered Mr Corbyn “standing behind me and my community” as a striking miner in 1984-5. “He stood on the picket lines, visited the soup kitchens,” he said. 

He praised Mr Corbyn for growing Labour’s membership to almost 600,000 and “giving people hope” of real political change for the first time in decades.

Former shadow chancellor John McDonnell recalled complaining, with Mr Corbyn and Diane Abbott, about anti-semitic posters being trialled by Labour for use against Tory leader Michael Howard in the Blair years. Mr McDonnell said that anti-semitism had been a problem in the party for years and the Corbyn leadership had tried to act on it — but efforts to implement the recommendations in the Chakrabarti report were obstructed. “We didn’t control the NEC and certainly didn’t control the Labour machine,” he noted.

And Ms Abbott asked why there was no clarity on what rule Mr Corbyn was supposed to have breached, who took the decision and why members weren’t supposed to talk about it. The former leader’s record of fighting racism was unmatched in the labour movement, she noted.

Bristol West constituency Labour Party did manage to pass a resolution on Monday condemning the “politically motivated attack against the left of the Labour Party by the leadership” and demanding Mr Corbyn’s reinstatement.

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