Former UK Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn Ruled Out as Election Candidate
by Ben Cohen
Sir Keir Starmer, the leader of Britain’s Labour Party, on Wednesday pledged that his predecessor, Jeremy Corbyn, would not be permitted to stand on the party’s ticket at the next general election as the UK’s main anti-racism watchdog declared itself satisfied that Labour no longer needed to be monitored for antisemitism.
Corybn’s term at the helm of the party — from his shock win as a far left candidate in 2015 to his heavy general election defeat in 2020 — was marked by a succession of scandals over antisemitism. One of the consequences was the monitoring of the party by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), an independent body whose report into Labour antisemitism in Oct. 2020 found that under Corbyn’s leadership, Labour had been guilty of unlawful harassment and discrimination against Jews.
Speaking after the EHRC announced that it would no longer be scrutinizing the party — declaring in a statement that “Britain’s equality regulator has now confirmed that it is content with the actions taken and has concluded its work with the party” — Starmer said that Labour had arrived at an “important moment” in its history that had taken “many, many months of hard work and humility.”
The Labour leader emphasized that it was not a day for “celebration” but rather “one for reflection on how a party that has always prided itself on its anti-racism, its commitment to equality, its belief in a better, fairer Britain could have fallen so far as to betray its own principles, as well as the principles of the country.”
Addressing those Labour members who had “suffered the most appalling abuse,” Starmer offered an apology.
“Today, on behalf of the entire Labour Party, I say sorry,” Starmer continued. “What you’ve been through cannot be undone. Apologies alone can’t make it right.” He stressed that “under my leadership, there will be zero tolerance of antisemitism, of racism, of discrimination of any kind.”
Dame Margaret Hodge, a Jewish Labour MP, offered her support for Starmer, arguing that Corbyn was responsible for being stripped of the Labour Party’s parliamentary mandate because of his own actions.
“One of the first phone calls that Keir Starmer made after he became elected leader was to me and to other Jews who had suffered under the time of Jew hate with Corbyn,” Hodge told Sky News. “And he promised us then that he would show zero tolerance to antisemitism, and he’s acted.”