Will Jeremy Corbyn’s long stint in parliament be brought to an end at the next election? Senior Labour figures have said that the party’s former leader will never be allowed to stand as a Labour MP again. Corbyn had his membership and the Labour whip suspended in 2020 after his response to the Equality and Human Rights Commission report into antisemitism within the Labour Party – having said that “the scale of the problem was also dramatically overstated for political reasons by our opponents”. He was subsequently reinstated as a Labour member but Keir Starmer decided not to restore the Labour whip. Since then, the MP for Islington North has sat as an Independent.
According to The Guardian, even if the former leader apologises “unequivocally, unambiguously and without reservation”, the leadership would still be reluctant to restore the whip. He is widely expected to run for the seat regardless – one he won with 63.4% of the vote in 2019, securing a majority of 26,188. It is always difficult to work out the impact an individual politician has, and a ‘personal vote’ is easy to overstate. Given his high profile and local popularity, however, the former Labour leader could cause problems – even if only in that the party will have to field a candidate against its former leader. If Corbyn does go ahead and run for election in Islington North, Momentum and left-wing members who support the former leader will face a dilemma. If they campaign against the party, the leadership will have grounds to expel the activists and proscribe Momentum.
In terms of who the party has decided can stand as candidates – LabourList has been closely following the selection processes up and down the country. Last week saw two further controversies as selection committees were dissolved in Camberwell and Peckham and Kensington. Christian Wakeford – the until recently Conservative MP who joined the party earlier this year – was selected as the candidate in Bury South without the usual ‘trigger ballot’ process. Over the weekend, Kevin Bonavia was selected to represent the party in Stevenage, Claire Hazelgrove was picked in Filton and Bradley Stoke and members backed Margaret Mullane in Dagenham and Rainham.
On LabourList for our readers this morning, we have an excellent piece from the Big Issue’s Cello Dutton-David and Nadia Meeran on the #BigFutures campaign. Meanwhile, shadow ministers Luke Pollard and Rachel Hopkins have written on how “just as our armed forces work to keep us safe and our country secure, we must do all we can to support them”.Sign up to LabourList’s morning email for everything Labour, every weekday morning.