Jeremy Corbyn says Sir Keir Starmer is ‘clearly intervening’ in ‘purge’ of left-wing Labour candidates | Politics News

Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has accused Sir Keir Starmer of “clearly intervening” in a “purge” of left-wing candidates from the party.

Confusion over whether Diane Abbott will be allowed to stand under Labour’s banner on 4 July has dominated headlines in recent days, as well as the suspension of Lloyd Russell-Moyle and the blocking of Faiza Shaheen – with critics of the leadership claiming it is an attack on the left.

But while Sir Keir has continued to say the decisions are not down to him but the party’s national executive committee, Mr Corbyn – who is standing as an independent candidate after being expelled from the party himself – focused the blame on his successor.

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Speaking to Sky News’s political correspondent Serena Barker-Singh about Ms Abbott, Mr Russell-Moyle and Ms Shaheen, the ex-leader said: “The one thing they all have in common, the people that have been purged, is that they’re on the left of the party and have all spoken out in favour of an immediate ceasefire and permanent ceasefire in Gaza.”

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He claimed that reports Ms Shaheen was stopped from running over tweets she liked on X regarding Israel were “a bit thin,” adding: “The Labour Party’s procedures ought to be more robust and more open than that.”

And asked about whether Sir Keir was behind the decisions, Mr Corbyn said: “He claims sometimes it’s nothing to do with him and other times that he’s made the decision. He better make up his mind what it is.

“I think the leader ought to be independent of the other processes. But he clearly is intervening all along the way.”

The left are finding out the hard way about Starmer’s distancing from 2019

Jeremy Corbyn is a figure that has loomed large in this general election campaign – even though he’s not been a Labour MP or even in the party at all for some time.

The Conservatives have always tried to align the current Labour leader, Sir Keir Starmer, to his predecessor in an attempt to conflate their politics.

But the Labour Party is doing all it can to distance itself from the days of 2019 – and members of the Labour left are finding that out the hard way.

Last night, those on the left of the party accused Starmer of a “purge” of left-wing candidates, after a sweep of nominees, who had already begun campaigning in what they’d hoped to be their constituencies, were told they could no longer run for the party.

Faiza Shaheen told me she thought this was not because of any tweets she’d liked, but because of her views on the conflict in Gaza.

Jeremy Corbyn told me he doesn’t think the Labour Party looks like a broad church anymore and instead it’s a party that only holds “centrist opinions” – and he sees this “purge” as going against anyone with a dissenting opinion.

Sir Keir said today he is not blocking left-wing candidates – he simply wants the “highest quality candidates” in this election.

But it’s that comment that has filled many candidates with hot rage. One former senior Labour adviser spoke of the leadership as “little boys drunk on power” – and others are personally offended by what they understand as a personal offence against their character.

They think it doesn’t matter about optics because they think the leadership want a fight – they believe the strategy is to look tough on ‘radical’ voices.

But Faiza Shaheen has been public about the disproportionate number of people of colour who have been affected by the decisions of last night and worries about what it tells voters. “This is not the message Labour should be sending to Black and brown voters,” she says.

Others who experienced the purge themselves called Faiza Shaheen’s situation a “stitch up” and others have told me the leadership have been hauling in outgoing MPs who have been critical of the leadership for meetings with the leader’s office.

Whether this is a concerted strategy or just the culmination of the selection process, the left now believe they know – in the eyes of the newly charged Labour Party – exactly where they stand.

Mr Corbyn had a tumultuous exit from Labour after running the party for four years.

He was first kicked out of the parliamentary party in 2020 after claiming a report into antisemitism under his tenure was “dramatically overstated for political reasons”.

But he was ejected from the party entirely after announcing he would be running as an independent candidate in Islington North, having been barred from standing in the seat for Labour.

Mr Corbyn faced his own accusations of interfering in disciplinary processes over antisemitism allegations when he was in charge, which he denied.

But Sir Keir claims to have made the process more independent – handing over control to the NEC – since taking office.

The other candidates running against Mr Corbyn in Islington North so far are:

Vikas Aggarwal – Liberal Democrats

Sheridan Kates – Green Party

Praful Nargund – Labour Party

Martyn Nelson – Reform UK


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