Any commitment to do so would be to gift Stalin Starmer an excuse to expel him altogether
Clamour is – understandably – growing for former Labour leader Jeremey Corbyn to announce he will stand as an independent in his Islington North seat, after his cowardly successor confirmed what everyone knew: that despite the (sham) EHRC’s ban on ‘political interference’ in disciplinary processes, Starmer has no intention of allowing Corbyn to stand as a Labour candidate. He never did, of course – despite initial agreements with Corbyn’s team to do so, Starmer cares too much about right-wing pro-Israel opinion and, like most weak men, his reflex is to go over the top in trying to act strong.
Corbyn has publicly responded to say that it is up to local members to decide and not Keir Starmer – Corbyn remains a Labour member after rightly being exonerated and readmitted following his suspension as a party member for saying something the EHRC said he has a legally-protected right to say.
However, the Labour right has barely bothered to disguise its contempt for party democracy and rules, rigging a string of selections and ignoring conference resolutions – even overwhelming and unanimous ones – that are supposedly binding. There is no allowance in the party rules for a party member not to sit as a Labour MP if elected, but that hasn’t stopped Starmer’s cowardly actions so far in ‘withdrawing the whip’.
And if Corbyn said now that he is standing as an independent candidate, that would gift Starmer the chance to exploit the party rules to expel Corbyn from the party altogether and give the press the chance to make hay with it for the next twenty-two months or however long is left until the next general election.
While many will feel that, since Starmer has effectively killed Labour as a force for anything except – at best – ‘more of the same’ as the Tories, Corbyn formally on the outside of the party would be a good thing and a rallying point for a new political party, Corbyn is unlikely to feel he wants to hand Starmer that PR opportunity just yet.
Of course, since there isn’t realistically time for a legal challenge before the next general election and the courts routinely rubber-stamp the regime’s disregard for rules and democracy even when the party’s excuse is it wanted to prevent someone challenging corruption, whenever an election is called it is almost certain that Corbyn will have to stand as independent Labour or similar if he wants to stand at all. Thousands from Islington and all over the country will flood the constituency to campaign for him the moment he announces, but Corbyn is likely to feel that to do so now would be premature and play into his enemy’s hands.
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