Corbyn ignores Labour whip’s call to remove name from Stop The War NATO statement

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Corbyn ignores Labour whip’s call to remove name from Stop The War NATO statement

Former Labour leader's decision to sign the statement alongside at least 11 other Labour MPs makes his prospects of his return to the party 'remoter than ever'

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

Jeremy Corbyn at a Stop The War demonstration in 2012.
Jeremy Corbyn at a Stop The War demonstration in 2012.

Senior Labour sources insist Jeremy Corbyn has failed to comply with a demand by the party’s shadow chief whip for him to remove his name from a statement critical of NATO made by the anti-Israel Stop The War Coalition.

Corbyn, and at least 11 Labour MPs – including Diane Abbott, Zarah Sultana, John McDonnell, Richard Burgon and Ian Lavery – were written to by the shadow chief whip who asked them to withdraw their signatures.

The STWC statement, released on February 18 ahead of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine called for NATO to “call a halt to its eastwards expansion.”

It also said it “refutes the idea NATO is a defensive alliance.

It is understood that within an of receiving the whips letter the MPs all withdrew their signatures fearing they would lose whip.

But Corbyn – still suspended as a Labour MP – was also sent a letter urging him to retract his support for the statement.
Sources said that in his current position he has lost the privileges of being a Labour MP but is still expected to follow the whip according to the party rule book.

List of MPs and peers who signed Stop the War’s petition

His failure to remove his name now leaves his prospects of ever returning as a Labour “remoter than ever”, a senior source told Jewish News

Corbyn lost the whip in November 2020 over his response to the EHRC report into antisemitism , when he said the problem was overstated.

He has also been a long-time supporter and senior figure with the STWC.

In 2015 the group deleted an article which appeared to suggest a war with Israel would be acceptable to the organisation.

Tory minister Lord Wolfson of Tredegar tweeted:” So tonight there are brave Russians marching in Moscow to stop the war, whereas Stop The War @STWuk is nowhere to be seen in London.

Its website refers to ‘the right of the Ukrainian people to self-determination and Russia’s security concerns’
“A false and shameful equivalence.”

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has been a staunch critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s actions in Ukraine.

He said on Thursday:”We must make a clean break with the failed approach to handling Putin, which after Georgia, Crimea and Donbas fed his belief that the benefits of aggression outweigh the cost. We must finally show him he is wrong.”

A Labour spokesperson declined to comment on whether Corbyn had received a letter from the whips office but said: “The small number of Labour MPs that signed the Stop The War statement have all now withdrawn their names. This shows Labour is under new management. With Keir Starmer’s leadership there will never be any confusion about whose side Labour is on – Britain, Nato, freedom and democracy – and every Labour MP now understands that.”

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