LONDON — Labour’s ruling body on Tuesday blocked former leader Jeremy Corbyn from standing for the U.K. opposition party as an election candidate.
Corbyn’s successor Keir Starmer — who has tried to remodel the party after a crushing election defeat under Corbyn in 2019 — proposed a motion to Labour’s National Executive Committee preventing it from selecting Corbyn as a candidate in the next general election.
A Labour spokesperson confirmed Tuesday that the motion had passed 22-12.
Corbyn was suspended from the Labour whip by Starmer in 2020, after saying the scale of antisemitism cases in the party had been “dramatically overstated for political reasons.”
But he has remained a member of the Labour Party, meaning he has continued to attend local party meetings in Islington North, the seat he has represented since 1983.
The NEC’s Tuesday decision was reached in under 90 minutes, despite dissent in the meeting from left-wing members of the ruling body.
While Starmer’s motion made no mention of Corbyn’s comments on antisemitism, a person in the room said they were raised by other members of the ruling body.
The decision was swiftly criticized within by left-wing Labour MPs Bell Ribeiro-Addy and Jon Trickett.
Both highlighted Keir Starmer’s 2020 statement that “local party members should select their candidates for every election.” Ribeiro-Addy tweeted: “Labour members and trade unionists in Islington North deserve a free and fair vote on who gets to represent them.”
The Corbyn-supporting Momentum group said it was a “dark day for democracy,” adding: “This unjust decision drives a massive wedge within the Labour Party and risks alienating the millions of people, especially young people, who were energised by Jeremy’s socialist politics.”
Local party officers in Islington North also condemned “the NEC’s undue interference,” which they said “undermines our goal of defeating the Conservatives.”
An ally of Corbyn said he is widely expected to stand as an independent candidate. The timing of any announcement is unclear, but it would likely lead to his automatic expulsion from Labour.
Labour members who support Corbyn once he is an independent candidate could be investigated for conduct that is “grossly detrimental” to the party, putting their own memberships at risk too.
Before today’s decision, at least three Labour strategists or MPs told POLITICO they expected resignations from Corbyn’s local party executive in protest.
The move underlines the shifting center of power in Labour under Starmer. Supporters of the left-wing Corbyn were once narrowly in control of the NEC, but are now outnumbered.
The post Jeremy Corbyn formally blocked from running for Labour at next election appeared first on Politico.