Jeremy Corbyn kicked out of Labour after standing as independent in Islington North

Jeremy Corbyn was on Friday stripped of his Labour membership as he confirmed that he will stand as an independent candidate against the party he used to lead.

The veteran MP launched his general election campaign for Islington North.

Announcing his decision in the local newspaper, he said: “I am here to represent the people of Islington North on exactly the same principles that I’ve stood by my whole life: social justice, human rights and peace.”

In response Labour rushed through its selection process and announced Praful Nargund as its candidate for the seat.

Labour had whittled down its search to replace Mr Corbyn to two candidates — Sem Moema, a member of the London Assembly, and Mr Nargund, with the winner originally due to be announced on June 1 after an online hustings.

Mr Nargund, an Islington councillor, said: “I promise to be a truly local MP, that represents all families and businesses that call this special place their home.

“Only Labour can change the country and fix 14 years of Tory failure.”

Praful Nargund (Handout)
Praful Nargund (Handout)

Win Islington North, an organisation made up of local Labour members, said Mr Corbyn was “someone who doesn’t represent the future but is of the past”.

“We are confident Jeremy Corbyn doesn’t have the support of the majority of local party members and his announcement today is a distraction from the real fight which is against the Tories,” a spokesman added.

Mr Corbyn, 74, was first elected in the London constituency more than 40 years ago and became Labour leader in 2015.

At the last general election he oversaw Labour’s worst defeat since 1935 and was later suspended from the parliamentary party over his reaction to a critical report on antisemitism under his leadership, which he said had been “dramatically overstated”.

He has sat as an independent MP since 2020 and was blocked from running as a Labour candidate by the party’s governing body, the National Executive Committee (NEC), last year.

But he has remained popular with some local members.

Asked about Mr Corbyn’s move to stand, Sir Keir Starmer told Sky News: “I’m very clear, the first thing I said as Labour leader is that I would tear antisemitism out of our party by the roots...

“I followed through on that, and that is why I took the decision that Jeremy Corbyn would not stand as a Labour candidate at this election.

“Jeremy standing as an independent, that’s a matter for him.”

Meanwhile Sir Keir confirmed that a decision on whether Diane Abbott will be allowed to stand on a Labour ticket in her Hackney North and Stoke Newington constituency is set to be made in the coming week.

The Left-wing ally of Mr Corbyn lost the whip after suggesting Jewish, Irish and Traveller people were not subject to racism “all their lives” in a letter to a newspaper in April last year.

She withdrew her remarks soon after and apologised “for any anguish caused” but has been under investigation ever since. Sir Keir told Sky News that Labour’s final candidate selection date of June 4 would be the deadline for whether Ms Abbott would be readmitted to the party.

It comes as both the Conservatives and Labour rushed to appoint candidates in dozens of constituencies across the country after Rishi Sunak called the surprise general election earlier this week.

Labour still needs to appoint candidates to fight about 80 seats, including around 10 in London.

The Tories are reported to have around 190 vacancies across the country. Mr Sunak has faced significant setbacks in his first days of campaigning as a number of high profile MPs, including two ministers, announced that they would not be standing for re-election on July 4.

At least 71 sitting Tory MPs have now said they will not fight to retain their seats.

Former minister Sir John Redwood, who ran for the party leadership in 1995, announced today that he is standing down, saying: “I have other things I wish to do.”

Rail minister Huw Merriman and employment minister Jo Churchill revealed yesterday that they would not contest the election.

Dame Eleanor Laing, the deputy commons speaker who was elected as a Tory MP but relinquished party affiliation to take up her role, and ex minister Sir Michael Ellis are also stepping down.

Former prime minister Theresa May and ex-chancellor Nadhim Zahawi will step down.

Today was the last day the Commons sits before Parliament is prorogued and MPs and peers were considering a series of Bills and regulations.

Commons Leader Penny Mordaunt did not include the Renters Reform Bill as she laid out legislation which could be rushed through, during the “wash-up” period.