What happened to Jeremy Corbyn and will he stand again as a Labour MP?

Jeremy Corbyn was leader of the Labour Party between September 2015 and April 2020  (Parliament TV)
Jeremy Corbyn was leader of the Labour Party between September 2015 and April 2020 (Parliament TV)

Jeremy Corbyn has been backed by local Labour Party members to run as a candidate in his Islington North constituency at the next general election.

The former party leader was blocked from standing as a Labour MP by Sir Keir Starmer earlier this year, and currently sits as an independent.

But on Wednesday night, local party delegates in Islington North passed a motion saying it was their “democratic right” to select the candidate they wanted to fight the next election.

The motion, which thanked Mr Corbyn, 73, for “his commitment and service to the people”, was passed by 98 per cent of attendees at the local party’s monthly general meeting.

Following the vote, Mr Corbyn said: “I love my job and I want to carry on doing it.”

He told the Standard: “Today I’m focused on doing what I’ve done for the past 40 years. Campaigning to end poverty, homelessness and inequality on behalf of the people of Islington North.”

Labour Party source said the vote held “no weight at all”.

The Islington North MP was suspended in 2020. He has since served as an independent MP, but has remained a member of the Labour Party. This means he has continued to attend local party meetings in Islington North.

Here’s how Labour’s ex-leader, who was brought to power by the party’s left wing in 2015, had the whip removed.

Why was Jeremy Corbyn suspended from the Labour Party?

A report by the Equality and Human Rights Commission published in October 2020 found that under Mr Corbyn’s leadership, the Labour Party breached the Equality Act when it failed to effectively address antisemitism within it. It identified cases of harassment, political interference into complaints, and inadequate training to deal with antisemitism.

Mr Starmer condemned the findings and apologised to the Jewish community. But he did not initially take disciplinary action against Mr Corbyn, who led the Labour Party between September 2015 and April 2020. He said instead that the report indicated a “collective failure of leadership”.

Responding to the report, Mr Corbyn said at the time: “One anti-semite is one too many, but the scale of the problem was also dramatically overstated for political reasons by our opponents inside and outside the party, as well as by much of the media.”

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and Jeremy Corbyn in happier times in 2019 (PA)
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and Jeremy Corbyn in happier times in 2019 (PA)

He was dismissed shortly afterwards, with a party spokesman saying: “In light of his comments made today and his failure to retract them subsequently, the Labour Party has suspended Jeremy Corbyn pending investigation.”

Mr Corbyn criticised the decision, stating that “political intervention” was behind his removal.

Defending his comments, he added: “I’ve explained what I’ve said. I’ve explained what I meant by it. I am not diminishing or minimising the issue of antisemitism. It is serious. It is real. It does exist.”

His allies spoke out against his suspension. John McDonnell, who served as shadow chancellor under Mr Corbyn’s leadership, said it was “profoundly wrong”. Len McCluskey, leader of the Unite union, described it as “an act of grave injustice” that could “cause chaos”.

There is evidence that Labour Party infighting was to blame for Mr Corbyn’s reputation being smeared. Vested interests in the media also apparently sought to paint the lifelong anti-racism campaigner as an antisemite.

In March 2023, and as reported by the BBC, Labour’s governing body voted to block Mr Corbyn from standing as a Labour candidate at the next election.

The National Executive Committee (NEC) voted 22 to 12 to approve a motion from Mr Starmer to prevent Labour endorsing Mr Corbyn. There is no right of appeal.

Why was Jeremy Corbyn reinstated without the whip?

As reported by the Guardian, his reinstatement without the whip came in November 2020, 19 days after his suspension. This followed an NEC ruling.

The Jewish Labour Movement (JVM) criticised the decision, saying a “factionally aligned political committee” was behind it.

Mr Starmer announced he would set up a new independent disciplinary process “as soon as possible”. He said he would not be restoring the whip to Mr Corbyn while the Jewish community lacked “trust and confidence” in the party.

In January 2022, an attempt by the committee to reinstate him as a Labour MP was voted down.