UK Labour’s ex-leader kept out of parliamentary ranks over anti-Semitism row

FILE PHOTO: Annual Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey in London

LONDON (Reuters) – The former leader of Britain’s Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, will not be restored as a Labour Member of Parliament (MP) after he undermined efforts to tackle anti-Semitism, the current Labour leader Keir Starmer said on Wednesday.

The decision is likely to deepen divisions in the main opposition party, some of whom remain fiercely loyal to Corbyn, 71, who led the party for nearly five years and re-energised left-wing supporters by pursuing a staunchly socialist agenda.

Corbyn was re-admitted to the party on Tuesday after being suspended for comments seen to be downplaying a report critical of Labour’s handling of anti-Semitism complaints under his leadership.

However, Starmer refused to re-admit him to the Parliamentary Labour Party, meaning he would not officially represent Labour in parliament and would continue to be classed as an “independent” MP.

“Jeremy Corbyn’s actions in response to the EHRC (Equality and Human Rights Commission) report undermined and set back our work in restoring trust and confidence in the Labour Party’s ability to tackle antisemitism,” Starmer tweeted.

“In those circumstances, I have taken the decision not to restore the whip to Jeremy Corbyn,” he said, using a term of parliamentary procedure. “I will keep this situation under review.”

Corbyn’s suspension from the wider Labour Party was lifted after he released a statement saying he had not intended to exacerbate or prolong the pain that anti-Semitism accusations had caused the Jewish community.

“We must never tolerate anti-Semitism or belittle concerns about it,” his Nov. 17 statement said.

Corbyn has not yet commented on Starmer’s decision.

(Reporting by William James, Editing by Estelle Shirbon)

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