John Stewart writes: Twenty eight MPs from the Socialist Campaign Group have released a statement welcoming Jeremy Corbyn’s reinstatement as a Labour Party member by an NEC Panel and calling for the Labour Whip to be restored to him in Parliament.
The statement follows on from the original call from 18 SCG MPs in October opposing the suspension and calling for the disciplinary action against Corbyn to be ‘quickly reversed’.
The MPs join a growing movement in Labour branches and CLPs speaking out at the injustice done to Corbyn for saying what hundreds of thousands of Labour members believe to be the obvious truth. The party machine tried to close down the uproar in the CLPs by repeatedly issuing instructions that party units should not be allowed to discuss Corbyn’s suspension – but that may now prove more difficult to enforce following the Panel decision and the controversy is now about the refusal of the Parliamentary leadership to restore the whip.
The left MPs have also drawn attention to the statement issued by the leaders of seven affiliated trade unions, which expressed “serious concerns about the manner of and rationale for suspension of the former party leader.”
Jeremy Corbyn was suspended from the Labour Party on 29th October after the release of the EHRC report into anti-semitism in the Labour Party. His response was that “one anti-semite is too many” but that “the scale of the problem was also dramatically overstated for political reasons by our opponents.” The NEC Disputes Panel agreed to reinstate his Labour membership on 17th November.
The MPs openly supporting Corbyn were: Diane Abbott, Tahir Ali, Paula Barker, Apsana Begum, Olivia Blake, Richard Burgon, Ian Byrne, Dan Carden, Mary Foy, Rachel Hopkins, Kim Johnson, Ian Lavery, Clive Lewis, Rebecca Long-Bailey, John McDonnell, Ian Mearns, Navendu Mishra, Grahame Morris, Kate Osamor, Kate Osborne, Bell Ribeiro-Addy, Lloyd Russell-Moyle, Zarah Sultana, Jon Trickett, Claudia Webbe, Mick Whitley, Nadia Whittome and Beth Winter. They were joined by four Labour members of the House of Lords: Christine Blower, Pauline Bryan, Katy Clark and John Hendy.
There were a few other Socialist Campaign Group MPs who didn’t put their name to the statement who hold front-bench roles and could not be expected to sign. Labour members should encourage their local Labour MP to voice their support for Corbyn’s full reinstatement.
Labour’s Deputy Leader, Angela Rayner, told a TV interviewer on 31st October that what Corbyn said was ‘true’ but ‘completely unacceptable’ – a statement that appears to sum up the entire ridiculous situation the Starmer leadership has taken the party into. Rayner had already prejudiced any future hearing by telling the BBC that Corbyn had a ‘blindspot’ on anti-semitism. The right wing Campaign Against Anti-Semitism group has targeted 15 other Labour MPs with accusations of anti-semitism, including Angela Rayner – maybe she will become this generation’s Joseph Nye Welch.
Trade unions warn of ‘civil war’
The decision of the Starmer leadership to refuse to reinstate the Labour Whip in Parliament to Jeremy Corbyn following the decision of the NEC Panel to lift his suspension provoked a strong response from leaders of affiliated trade unions.
Len McCluskey from Unite said he was astonished at the decision and called it “a vindictive and vengeful action” which showed “marked bad faith”. McCluskey urged Keir Starmer “in the strongest terms to pull back from the brink.”
Communications Workers Union leader, Dave Ward, said the refusal to reinstate the Whip “deflects from the serious issues of the day …. but Starmer wants a civil war.”
The Bakers Union called the refusal to reinstate the Whip a “disgraceful act” and announced it would consult its members on whether they wished to remain affiliated to Labour.