Jeremy Corbyn Banned From Sitting as a Labour MP - What Happens Now?

Former Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn has been reinstated into the party following a 19-day suspension but he will not be allowed to sit as an MP with the parliamentary party.

Labour Leader Sir Keir Starmer has refused to restore the whip to Corbyn, the act of allowing him party legitimacy, which would allow him to continue sitting as one of the party's MPs.

Starmer said: "Jeremy Corbyn's actions in response to the EHRC [Equalities 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. In those circumstances, I have taken the decision not to restore the whip to Jeremy Corbyn. I will keep this situation under review."

It is a move that has been welcomed by The Board of Deputies, the largest and oldest Jewish communal organization in the U.K, who tweeted: "We welcome Keir Starmer's decision to withhold the whip from Jeremy Corbyn... We continue to say that 'zero tolerance' must mean precisely that, whether for antisemites or their apologists."

If some had been hoping that the days of bitter infighting in the party would be over under a new Labour leadership, they may have to wait a while yet.

For Keir Starmer, the original suspension meant damaging relations with the Corbynite wing of the party and now with the suspension being lifted, it also means he will have won few allies on the center and right of the party.

Mish Rahman, a member of the party's national executive committee (NEC) says the suspension of Corbyn was an anti-democratic factional attack on the left but was "delighted" with the result of the panel before Starmer decided not to reinstate Corbyn back into the party.

He feels that the suspension of Corbyn is an attempt by the current party leadership to sideline the left.

"The future of the left in the Party is bright. We've recently won a majority of CLP reps onto the NEC, showing there is a socialist majority within the Party. And the Momentum-backed slate, 'Socialist Future', swept the board in the Young Labour elections. The future of Labour is undoubtedly socialist. Divided parties don't win elections and attacks on members must stop. It's members' ideas, energy and commitment that will drive our party to victory."

Corbyn, the MP for Islington North, who has been a party member for 55 years, was suspended for saying that the scale of anti-Semitism in the party had been 'overstated' in response to a report by the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), the U.K.'s equalities watchdog, which investigated allegations of anti-Semitism in the Labour party.

It found that under Corbyn's leadership, the party was responsible for "unlawful acts of discrimination and harassment". His reinstatement as a member has opened old wounds in the party over anti-Semitism.

The Jewish Labour Movement, the largest organization of Jewish Labour members, warned the decision to reinstate Corbyn will embolden those who agreed with his "grossly offensive" remarks that resulted in his suspension.

The Board of Deputies called the initial decision to reinstate Corbyn a "retrograde step" in its relation with the Jewish community.

A statement added: "For Jeremy Corbyn's allies on the NEC (National Executive Committee) to expedite his case whilst hundreds of other cases languished under his tenure, and his confected non-apology earlier today adds insult to injury."

Corbyn
Jeremy Corbyn has been reinstated into the Labour Party Getty

Some Jewish senior Labour politicians have welcomed Starmer's actions. Margaret Hodge MP said the decision to withhold the whip from Corbyn was the right one.

She tweeted: "Yesterday has shown once again just how broken and unjust the existing complaints system is. It has caused untold hurt and anguish across the Jewish community, undermined progress made and made me question my own place in the party.

"As Corbyn has refused to himself accept the findings of the EHRC report, refused to apologise for his actions and refused to take any responsibility, withholding the whip is the right decision."

Meanwhile, Sir Keir could have a fight on his hands with the party's single biggest donor, the trade union Unite.

Upon learning that Corbyn's suspension was to be lifted, the union's general secretary, Len McCluskey tweeted: "Jeremy Corbyn's readmission is the correct, fair and unifying decision. As a party we now move forward to implement the EHRC's recommendations and redouble our efforts to inspire voters about Keir's 10 pledges."

Labour's internal battles are from over, not just over anti-Semitism, but also over the overall direction the party should take.

Jon Lansman, former chair of Momentum, a pro-Corbyn grassroots group within the party, tweeted: "The decision not to restore the whip to Corbyn just announced has driven a coach and horses through the party's disciplinary process, making it subservient to the parliamentary party and embedding "political interference".

"The whip was only removed because he had been suspended!"

Sir Keir's refusal to restore the whip to Corbyn, could lead to even greater anger among his supporters than his initial suspension, many of whom are also calling for members who have been disciplined for expressing support for Corbyn's original response to the EHRC report to also be reinstated in the party.