Jeremy Corbyn ‘albatross round Labour’s neck’, says Wes Streeting

Jeremy Corbyn won’t be missed by Labour, frontbencher Wes Streeting has said after the left-wing ex-leader was blocked from standing for the party at the next general election.

The shadow health secretary claimed Mr Corbyn would have been “an albatross around Labour’s neck” at the 2024 election as he defended Sir Keir Starmer’s move to bar his selection.

Sir Keir Starmer got the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) to vote not to endorse his predecessor in contesting Islington North for Labour on Tuesday.

Mr Corbyn stopped short of saying he will stand as an independent – but said he had “no intention of stopping” fighting for his constituent, adding: “I will not be intimidated into silence.”

Mr Streeting said there was “no point complaining” to Sir Keir or the NEC about the “sorry state of affairs” – saying Mr Corbyn “has no one to blame but himself”.

The frontbencher told Times Radio that if Mr Corbyn had properly accepted the damning the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) verdict into antisemitism “things might have been different”.

Mentioning the 2019 election defeat, Mr Streeting said: “If he’d taking responsibility for his leadership, which led us to the worst defeat since 1935, if he’d shown any kind of remorse, contrition, reflection, if he wasn’t considered to be an albatross around the neck for the Labour party at the next general election, things might have been different, but Jeremy Corbyn has no one to blame but himself.”

He added: “If his allies and friends are disappointed, they should share their disappointment with Jeremy Corbyn. And for once in his life, Jeremy Corbyn might take some responsibility, but I won’t hold my breath. He won’t be a Labour candidate in the next general election and he won’t be missed.”

Mr Corbyn stopped short of saying he will stand as an independent after being blocked, as he criticised what he called a “shameful attack on party democracy, party members and natural justice”.

But the former Labour leader added: “I will not be intimidated into silence. I have spent my life fighting for a fairer society on behalf of the people of Islington North, and I have no intention of stopping now.”

Jeremy Corbyn has been blocked from standing by Keir Starmer


If Mr Corbyn did run as an independent in the seat he has represented since 1983, he could create a distracting challenge for Sir Keir at the next general election. But such a move could also see him thrown out of the party he has held a membership of for nearly 60 years.

Sir Keir’s NEC motion saying Mr Corbyn “will not be endorsed by the NEC as a candidate on behalf of the Labour Party at the next general election” passed by 22 votes to 12.

It cited the dismal defeat for Labour under Mr Corbyn in the 2019 general election, in arguing his candidacy should be blocked.

The motion argued that Labour’s chances of winning the next election and securing a majority in the Commons would be “significantly diminished” if Mr Corbyn was endorsed.

The move was welcomed in all wings of the parliamentary party, where Mr Corbyn still retains the support of those aligned with the Socialist Campaign Group.

Momentum founder accuses Keir Starmer of ‘behaving like Putin’ over Corbyn ban

John McDonnell, a friend and ally of Mr Corbyn who served as his shadow chancellor, said it was a “really bad mistake”. He told Times Radio: “This is so divisive, and it’ll demoralise quite a few people. And actually, I think it might, in many ways, cost us votes in a number of constituencies.”

Left-wing Labour MP Nadia Whittome, who has served on Sir Keir’s frontbench, described the motion as “divisive, an attack on party democracy and a distraction”.

Jon Lansman, co-founder of the Corbyn-backing Momentum pressure group, suggested the

Labour leader is acting like an “authoritarian” and accused Starmer of “behaving as if he was some kind of Putin of the Labour Party”

The Islington North Labour Party rejected the NEC’s “undue interference” in the constituency. They argued it “undermines our goal of defeating the Conservatives and working with our communities for social justice”.

NEC member Shabana Mahmood, Labour’s national campaign co-ordinator, insisted constituency members “do get a chance to vote” but “it is always left to the NEC to endorse those candidates”.

Mr Corbyn was suspended over his response to the EHRC finding Labour under his leadership was responsible for unlawful acts of harassment and discrimination as he struggled to tackle antisemitism.

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