Jeremy Corbyn tonight came out fighting after Sir Keir Starmer barred him from standing as a Labor candidate at the next general election. The former Labor leader, who currently sits as an independent MP, accused his successor of a “flagrant attack on the democratic rights” of party members in his Islington North constituency.
Mr Corbyn also said the move was a “divisive distraction from our overriding goal: to defeat the Conservative Party”.
It comes after Sir Keir confirmed today that he will not allow Mr Corbyn to stand for Labor when the country goes to the polls next year.
In a statement posted on Twitter, Mr Corbyn said: “Ever since I was elected as a Labor MP 40 years ago, I have fought on behalf of my community for a more equal, caring and peaceful society.
“Day in day out, I am focused on the most important issues facing people in Islington North: poverty, rising rents, the healthcare crisis, the safety of refugees, and the fate of our planet.
“Keir Starmer’s statement about my future is a flagrant attack on the democratic rights of Islington North Labor Party members.
“It is up to them – not party leaders – to decide who their candidate should be.
“Any attempt to block my candidacy is a denial of due process, and should be opposed by anyone who believes in the value of democracy.
“At a time when the Government is overseeing the worst cost-of-living crisis in a generation, this is a divisive distraction from our overriding goal: to defeat the Conservative Party at the next general election.
“I am proud to represent the Labor movement in Parliament through my constituency.
“I am focused on standing up for workers on the picket line, the marginalized, and all those worried about their futures. That is what I’ll continue to do. I suggest the Labor Party does the same.”
It comes after Sir Keir, who has sought to distance himself from his predecessor, for the first time unequivocally barred Mr Corbyn from standing as a Labor candidate at the next general election.
He used a speech earlier to invite his opponents on the Labor left to leave the party which he said is now “unrecognizable” from its form under Mr Corbyn.
Speaking in east London, he said: “Let me be very clear, Jeremy Corbyn will not stand at the next general election as a Labor Party candidate.
“What I said about the party changing I meant and we are not going back.”
It is understood Mr Corbyn will speak to Labor members in his Islington North constituency before deciding his next steps.
But his allies expect Sir Keir to have the powers to prevent any challenge for the candidacy against the leadership’s wishes.
Mr Corbyn was suspended from the parliamentary party over his response to the EHRC’s damning report in 2020.
However, one of his closest allies Diane Abbott today insisted he has “no intention of standing as an independent”.
Meanwhile the Corbyn-backing Momentum campaign group said: “It should be for Labor members in Islington North to decide their candidate – that is their democratic right.”