Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has been restored to the party ‘whip’ after his suspension was unanimously overturned in the last few minutes by a right-dominated panel of National Executive Committee members. Corbyn issued a statement on Facebook this morning, about his comments following the publication of the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) report, that appears to have been agreed with the party. It expresses ‘regret’ for pain caused to Jewish people by the issue of antisemitism but does not withdraw his comment or apologise:
Last month, I was suspended from the Labour Party, after 54 years’ membership and four and a half years as party leader.
On the day I was suspended I gave a broadcast interview to clarify what I had said in response to the EHRC report, and I also made a statement to the party to clear up any confusion about what I had meant, as follows:
“The publication of the EHRC report should have been a moment for the Labour Party to come together in a determination to address the shortcomings of the past and work as one to root out antisemitism in our own ranks and wider society. We must never tolerate antisemitism or belittle concerns about it. And that was not my intention in anything I said this week. I regret the pain this issue has caused the Jewish community and would wish to do nothing that would exacerbate or prolong it. To be clear, concerns about antisemitism are neither “exaggerated” nor “overstated”. The point I wished to make was that the vast majority of Labour Party members were and remain committed anti-racists deeply opposed to antisemitism. I fully support Keir Starmer’s decision to accept all the EHRC recommendations in full and, in accordance with my own lifelong convictions, will do what I can to help the Party move on, united against antisemitism which has been responsible for so many of history’s greatest crimes against humanity.”
I’m grateful to the many thousands of Labour party members, trade unionists, and supporters in Britain and around the world, who have offered their solidarity.
I hope this matter is resolved as quickly as possible, so that the party can work together to root out antisemitism and unite to oppose and defeat this deeply damaging Conservative government.
The carefully-worded statement allows Corbyn’s successor Keir Starmer to save face while rowing back on his and general secretary David Evans’s decision to suspend Corbyn for making comments that the EHRC report said he had a legally-protected right to make.
However, the Board of Deputies has attacked the statement and demanded that Keir Starmer block any readmission – but the EHRC report, which Labour’s opponents welcomed, forbids any political interference in disciplinary processes or outcomes, regardless of the source.
Labour must now immediately reinstate all members suspended for expressing solidarity with Corbyn or condemning his suspension.
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