Labour CRISIS: Worrying poll for Starmer as party split on Corbyn decision

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Last month, the former leader of the Opposition was suspended from the party following an investigation in anti-Semitism by the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC).

Responding to the report, Mr Corbyn claimed the scale of the anti-Semitism problem during his leadership was “dramatically overstated for political reasons”.

Mr Corbyn was readmitted as a party member but his successor Sir Keir Starmer said he will not sit as a Labour MP in the House of Commons.

Last week, the party’s chief whip, Nick Brown, wrote to the former leader saying he will lose his whip for at least three months.

This will allow time for an investigation to take place into whether Mr Corbyn broke any parliamentary party rules.

But now, a poll has revealed a deep divide within the party and its members due to Mr Corbyn losing his whip.

The LabourList poll – which asked more than 5,000 people – found that 48 percent of voters believe Sir Keir was “wrong” not to restore the Labour whip.

While 46 percent think the move was “right” and just six percent said they didn’t know.

Around 58 percent of voters said they had a “negative” view of Mr Corbyn’s response to the report, with 41 percent holding that view “strongly”.

A letter from left-aligned members of Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC) argued the whip should be returned to the formal leader.

Writing to the general secretary, David Evans, said: “The decision of the leader the following day to withhold the whip from Jeremy Corbyn MP is an act of deliberate political interference in the handling of a complaint.

“It defies the decision of the NEC panel, is a matter of double jeopardy that flies in the face of natural justice, it undermines the rule book and it is precisely the type of action found to be unlawful indirect discrimination by the Equalities and Human Rights Commission [EHRC] report.”

Just days before the results of this worrying poll was released, Sir Keir was warned he could face a leadership challenge if he continues his “vendetta” against Mr Corbyn.

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Former Labour chairman Ian Lavery told the Commons People podcast: “It looks very much that this is a vengeful, divisive, provocative sort of move from Keir Starmer.

“This isn’t about uniting the party – it looks to me as if it’s a personal and political vendetta now from the new leader of the party to the previous leader of the party.”

Mr Lavery argued Labour needs to set out clearly who made the decision on Mr Corbyn’s suspension.

He said: “Who made the decision that Keir has got the overriding powers to overrule the national executive committee [Labour’s ruling body]?

“I’m not being melodramatic but that’s a little bit like a tin pot dictatorship to me.

“We’ve got to have some form of democracy in the party and at this moment in time it doesn’t look like we have.”

Mr Corbyn stepped down as Labour leader following the party’s worst election defeat since 1935.

Claims of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party were heightened after Mr Corbyn was elected the party leader back in 2015.

High-profile suspensions over alleged anti-Semitic comments included MP Naz Shah, the ex-London Mayor Ken Livingstone and MP Chris Williamson, an ally and friend of Mr Corbyn.

This year, Sir Keir sacked the Shadow Education Secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey after she retweeted an article containing an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory.

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