Jeremy Corbyn suspended from Labour Party over response to antisemitism report

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Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has been suspended from the party and has had the whip removed.

A party spokesman said: “In light of his comments made today and his failure to retract them subsequently, the Labour Party has suspended Jeremy Corbyn pending investigation. He has also had the whip removed from the Parliamentary Labour Party.”

Mr Corbyn had reacted to a damning report into antisemitism by saying the number of complaints made during his tenure were “dramatically overstated for political reasons”.

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Starmer questioned over Corbyn’s future

He then gave a press conference in which he repeated this and insisted: “I’m not part of the problem.”

Mr Corbyn also said he would not quit Labour, adding that he is “proud to be a member of the Labour Party” which he joined when he was 16 and “I’ve fought racism all my life, and I’ll fight racism for the rest of my life”.

The MP has vowed to “strongly contest the political intervention to suspend me”.

He tweeted: “I’ve made absolutely clear those who deny there has been an antisemitism problem in the Labour Party are wrong. I will continue to support a zero tolerance policy towards all forms of racism.”

An emergency shadow cabinet meeting has been called for 4pm.

The investigation into antisemitism by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) found Labour had broken the law in how it dealt with complaints of antisemitism in the period when Mr Corbyn was leader.

It said there were “serious failings” by its leadership, political interference by Mr Corbyn’s office into complaints and found the party responsible for “unlawful acts of harassment and discrimination”.

Current leader Sir Keir Starmer said in his reaction to the report: “And if – after all the pain, all the grief, and all the evidence in this report, there are still those who think there’s no problem with antisemitism in the Labour Party. That it’s all exaggerated, or a factional attack.

“Then, frankly, you are part of the problem too. And you should be nowhere near the Labour Party either.”

When asked by Sky’s Kate McCann if that meant Mr Corbyn should no longer be a member of the party, Sir Keir repeated his words and said he would look at what his predecessor had said.

An hour later, the party said it had suspended Mr Corbyn.

He has also had the whip removed, which means he is no longer part of Labour within Parliament, so he can remain an MP but is now an independent.

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 29: Former Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn leaves his home on October 29, 2020 in London, England. The long-awaited report from the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) which was initiated in 2019 after Jewish groups alleged the party was institutionally antisemitic in its handling of complaints under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn, is due to be published today. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

Sky News’ political correspondent Joe Pike said he understands Mr Corbyn’s reaction to being suspended was “complete shock” as he said: “What?”

Labour MP Harriet Harman, chair of the human rights committee, tweeted: “This is the right thing to do.

“If you say that AS [antisemitism] exaggerated for factional reasons you minimise it and are, as Keir Starmer says, part of the problem.”

John McDonnell, Mr Corbyn’s shadow chancellor when he was PM, urged party members to “stay calm” and “all call upon the leadership to lift this suspension”.

He tweeted: “On the day we should all be moving forward & taking all steps to fight antisemitism, the suspension of Jeremy Corbyn is profoundly wrong. In interests of party unity let’s find a way of undoing & resolving this.”

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