Jeremy Corbyn with Keir Starmer. The new Labour leader has made competence a central principle of his leadership.

Corbyn accuses Starmer of denigrating Labour’s ‘democratic foundations’ ahead of vote on future

Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s political future is in doubt ahead of a move to formally block him from standing for Labour at the next general election.

Sir Keir Starmer will propose a motion today that will see the party’s ruling body, the National Executive Committee (NEC), refuse to endorse his predecessor to fight for his Islington North seat.

In a statement reacting to the move, Mr Corbyn said the Labour leader had “broken his commitment to respect the rights of Labour members and denigrated the democratic foundations of our party”.

It comes after Sir Keir ruled out the MP standing for Labour last month, following the announcement that the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has decided to lift the party out of two years of special measures on antisemitism.

Mr Corbyn has been suspended from the parliamentary party since October 2020 over his reaction to a report by the EHRC.

After a critical EHRC report in October 2020, Mr Corbyn claimed “the scale of the problem” of Labour antisemitism was “dramatically overstated for political reasons by our opponents”.

Responding to Mr Corbyn’s statement at the time, Sir Keir said: “I’m the leader of the Labour Party, but I’m also the leader of the Parliamentary Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn’s actions in response to the EHRC report undermined and set back our work in restoring trust and confidence in the Labour Party’s ability to tackle antisemitism”. 

Mr Corbyn, who has represented Islington North for 40 years, has been sitting as an independent MP ever since his suspension.

The new motion, which the NEC is expected to back, says the Islington North MP “will not be endorsed by the NEC as a candidate on behalf of the Labour Party at the next general election”.

It will also argue that Mr Corbyn standing for Labour at the next election would see the party’s chances of winning power being “significantly diminished”.

It is expected to add that “the Labour Party’s interests, and its political interests at the next general election, are not well served by Mr Corbyn running as a Labour Party candidate”.

In a statement yesterday, Mr Corbyn said that he is “proud to represent a community that supports vulnerable people, joins workers on the picket line and fights for transformative change”.

He added: “This latest move represents a leadership increasingly unwilling to offer solutions that meet the scale of the crises facing us all. As the government plunges millions into poverty and demonises refugees, Keir Starmer has focused his opposition on those demanding a more progressive and humane alternative.

“I joined the Labour Party when I was 16 years old because, like millions of others, I believed in a redistribution of wealth and power”.

Responding to Sir Keir’s move, the socialist campaign group of MPs tweeted yesterday: “It is the democratic right of Labour Party members and the affiliated trade unions and socialist societies in the Islington North CLP to choose their Parliamentary candidate. We urge members of the NEC to uphold this vital democratic right at Tuesday’s meeting”.

Labour MP Beth Winter said yesterday: “I believe Jeremy Corbyn being allowed to stand would broaden Labour’s appeal. NEC members should uphold the right of CLP members to conduct a selection process including Jeremy. In the interests of General Election success, I urge NEC members to withdraw the motion”.

Apsana Begum, another supporter of Mr Cobryn, called the former leader “one of the most popular leaders of the Labour Party”.

She added: “We should instead continue to be inspired by the heroism of all those who are standing up for their rights and the rights of others, in difficult situations”.