If Corbyn speaks at Stop The War rally, it would ‘seal his fate’ with Labour

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If Corbyn speaks at Stop The War rally, it would ‘seal his fate’ with Labour

EXCLUSIVE: Former party leader listed as a speaker at the 'No To War In Ukraine’ event, with any address leading to possible charges of bringing the party into disrepute

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.

Jeremy Corbyn could face a charge of bringing the Labour Party into disrepute if he goes ahead and speaks at a Stop The War rally on Wednesday evening.

The former Labour leader is listed as the main speaker at a ‘No To War In Ukraine’ event being held in central London – and which accuses Britain of playing a “provocative role” ahead of the Kremlin’s invasion in its promotional literature.

Jewish News understands that any speech given by Corbyn at the event will be closely monitored by Labour chiefs – with a view to bringing possible disrepute charges against him.

The list of MPs who signed Stop the War’s petition

Corbyn had further infuriated party bosses last week by failing to heed a call from Labour’s whips office to remove his name from an earlier statement issued by Stop The War that condemned  the “eastward expansion” of Nato and attacked the British government for “inflaming tensions and indicating disdain for Russian concerns”.

Starmer had ordered 11 Labour MPs to remove their names from a Stop The War letter on the crisis last week.

Coupled with his continued failure to apologise in full for his comments after the release of the EHRC’s antisemitism report in November 2020, Corbyn’s chances of ever having the party whip restored are now described as “remote.”

But senior party sources have confirmed to Jewish News, that a speech delivered to supporters of Stop The War on Wednesday by Corbyn could “seal his fate.”

Refusing to rule out the possibility of charges of bring the party into disrepute being levelled at the former leader, one party source said this move would “depend on what he says.”

George Galloway was famously expelled from Labour in 2003 after being found guilty of four of the five charges of bringing the party into disrepute.

The Stop The War coalition, which mounted protests outside the committee meeting in support of Galloway, said his expulsion was an “absolute disgrace”.

Labour leader  Sir Keir Starmer warned on Monday at a meeting of the parliamentary Labour Party that any party member who draws a “false equivalence” between Nato and the actions of Russia in Ukraine would be kicked out of the party.

A report in the FT on Tuesday said six members of Labour’s shadow cabinet had called for those who continued to back the Stop The War Coalition’s stance to be “booted out” of the party at a meeting of the PLP.

A senior Labour figure told the FT that  Starmer’s stance on Ukraine has “crushed rather than marginalised” the left. “If they go further, he will go further for sure,” they added. “He is operating with zero tolerance.”

Meanwhile the HuffPost reported that John McDonnell, who is also billed as a speaker at Wednesday’s STW event, faced losing the whip if he spoke.

A description of Wednesday’s rally said:: “We oppose Russian military intervention in Ukraine. We also recognise this is a conflict thirty years in the making, a conflict in which Britain is playing a provocative role – talking up war, decrying diplomacy and supplying arms to Ukraine as well as supporting increased military deployments to neighbouring countries.

“Leading figures from the anti-war movement will provide insight and analysis missing from most media coverage. We must ensure that the anti-war campaign is prepared and organised to pull us back from the precipice – so come along on Wednesday.”

HuffPost UK said they asked the Hayes and Harlington MP whether he still planned to speak at the rally, but received no reply.

A Labour source added: “If he goes, he’ll lose the whip. Any Labour MPs who speak at anything that is anti-Nato from now on are likely to be out.”

Jewish News has contacted Corbyn for comment.

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