‘Ditch Corbyn or we’ll withdraw insurance cover’, threaten mayor and assembly
London’s mayor Sadiq Khan and the Greater London Authority (GLA) have been accused of prioritising the silencing of an inconvenient speaker above the climate crisis, after former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was barred at the last minute from speaking to Saturday’s climate rally.
Multiple sources have told Skwawkbox that Khan and the GLA told organisers of the march that if Corbyn spoke at the event, ‘insurance for it would be withdrawn’ – forcing cancellation.
The mayor’s press office and City Hall switchboard are not taking calls, but Mr Khan’s office has been asked by email to provide comment on:
- the suitability of the mayor and other officials using their position to censor speakers at a climate event
- why climate change as an issue is apparently subordinate in the mayor’s priorities to gagging a politically inconvenient speaker
Any answer received will be added to the article when available.
GLA spokesperson said: “This is not true. At no point during the granting of permission to use Trafalgar Square was the line-up of speakers discussed – decisions on speakers are the responsibility of the event organiser, not the GLA.”
However, sources at the mayor’s office said that an event would not be allowed to proceed without insurance to protect the ‘fabric of the [Trafalgar] square and others still insist that the GLA was involved in the decision. Some are saying that pressure was applied via CAFOD, the international aid charity funding the event:
Corbyn’s popularity with activists – and particularly with young people, who play a key role in protests to defend the environment – will be a serious embarrassment to his wooden and unappealing successor. In addition, Keir Starmer is expected to continue to withhold the whip from Corbyn and to try to unseat him at the next general election. With speculation growing that Boris Johnson might call a snap election as early as next year, the Labour right will be desperate to deny the public evidence of Corbyn’s enduring appeal and natural ability to engage audiences of all ages.
Current and former Labour members and other supporters of the movement have said that if Starmer stands a candidate against Corbyn in a general election, they will flood into north London from all over the country to campaign for him. Corbyn’s son Tommy has warned that any move to unseat his dad underestimates his popularity with and record of service to local communities.
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