Jeremy Corbyn has released a fresh statement on the subject of his suspension from the Labour Party in which he expresses hope that “this matter is resolved as quickly as possible” and clarifies his comments.
He was suspended nearly three weeks ago after claiming that “the scale of the problem was also dramatically overstated for political reasons by our opponents” in his response to the Equality and Human Rights Commission report.
The report on Labour antisemitism had found that the party was responsible for “unlawful acts of harassment and discrimination” and “serious failings in leadership” during the time that Corbyn was in charge.
A Labour spokesperson announced on October 29th that Corbyn was being suspended by the party due to “his comments” and “his failure to retract them subsequently”, and the Islington MP had the whip removed.
Referring to his Facebook post on the day of the EHRC report, Corbyn has now said: “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.”
LabourList sources on the left of the party have privately expressed optimism about the possibility that disciplinary action against Corbyn will be dropped, either via a Labour national executive committee (NEC) panel or beforehand.
LabourList understands that longstanding Corbyn allies Jon Trickett MP and Unite’s Len McCluskey have been working behind the scenes to de-escalate the row and create a way back for the former leader.
The Jewish Labour Movement has voiced frustration that Labour discussion after the EHRC report has been dominated by the row over Corbyn, “who could have avoided his inevitable suspension”, secretary Peter Mason said.
Some members today have pointed out that the former Labour leader has not apologised, nor does his statement offer support to the report’s findings, instead welcoming Keir Starmer’s acceptance of the recommendations.
The Labour Party is not commenting on the new statement posted by Corbyn. But according to one well-placed source, a Labour NEC panel may be convened as soon as this afternoon to consider Corbyn’s disciplinary case.
Below is the full text of Jeremy Corbyn’s statement on his suspension.
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.