Corbyn set to stand against Labour as an independent candidate

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Corbyn set to stand against Labour as an independent candidate

Jeremy Corbyn will face auto-exclusion from Labour on confirming his move to stand as an Independent candidate in Islington North

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

Jeremy Corbyn and Keir Starmer.  (REUTERS/Yves Herman)
Jeremy Corbyn and Keir Starmer. (REUTERS/Yves Herman)

Jeremy Corbyn is expected to confirm that he is standing against Labour as an independent candidate in his north London constituency.

The announcement, expected in the next 24 hours will mean that Corbyn is auto-excluded from the party he led.

Labour meanwhile have confirmed a short-list of two candidates for selection in the Islington North seat, held by Corbyn since 1983.

Praful Nargund, an experienced local councillor, and the highly-rated Sem Moema, a former councillor who now sits on the London Assembly, are the only names on a shortlist.

Local members will select their choice of candidate next week.

Corbyn, 74, had the party whip removed in November 2020 after claiming that accusations of antisemitism under his leadership had been “dramatically overstated for political reasons”.

The Conservatives have been keen to portray Keir Starmer as someone who supported Corbyn when he led Labour.

But Labour have hit back suggesting the party is now an entirely different proposition under Starmer’s leadership.

As a local MP, Corbyn retains support, and experts predict that he could still retain the seat as an independent.

Sem Moema, on shortlist for Labour

But the local party has around 4000 members, and has previously shown itself to be supportive of Starmer, outside of a small clique of officials controlling the CLP.

With the prospect of a Labour government, some former local Corbyn supporters seem likely to move to back the party’s candidate rather than an independent.

Labour chiefs also believe the signal that Starmer’s party is no longer Corbyn’s has wider benefits, including in seats where support dropped at the 2019 election.

Praful Nargund

Rachel Reeves, the shadow chancellor, told BBC Radio London last week: “When Jeremy Corbyn was leader of the Labour Party, I’m afraid that antisemitism was rife within the Labour Party. We were investigated by the Equality and Human Rights Commission over the treatment of Jewish people.

“And when that report was published, Jeremy Corbyn sadly refused to acknowledge what had happened in the Labour Party and his role within it. We’ve got an independent complaints process within the Labour Party, he’s no longer a Labour MP and he will not be the Labour candidate for the next election.”

A Labour source added: “We are very happy to stand up and say that Keir’s predecessor will not be a Labour candidate whereas Rishi Sunak’s predecessor, who crashed the economy, will be a [Conservative] candidate and is still trying to be a backseat driver. So we are very happy to draw that comparison.”

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