Tuesday, 1 Dec 2020

Bring back Corbyn! Abbott orders supporters sign letter to reinstate ex-Labour leader

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Jeremy Corbyn’s close ally Ms Abbott, who served as shadow home secretary under his leadership, shared the open letter after the ex-leader was suspended over his response to a damning anti-Semitism report. She used the hashtag “#IStandWithJeremyCorbyn” as she leapt to his defence.

Ms Abbott tweeted: “Please sign this letter calling for the lifting of @jeremycorbyn suspension #IStandWithJeremyCorbyn”

The letter orders Labour leader Keir Starmer to reverse his decision and reinstate Mr Corbyn as a member, arguing there is “no reasonable justification” for his suspension.

It reads: “We are writing to you as members of the Labour Party to request the lifting of the suspension of Jeremy Corbyn.

“We see no reasonable justification for Jeremy’s suspension.

“He is a lifelong campaigner against racism and antisemitism and we believe his suspension will not strengthen the party’s ability to challenge racism and antisemitism.”

Labour was plunged into chaos when Mr Corbyn was suspended from the party after a damning investigation into its handling of anti-Semitism.

A report by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) found the party was responsible for unlawful acts of harassment and discrimination when Mr Corbyn was in charge.

Mr Corbyn rejected some of the equality watchdog’s findings and claimed the issue had been “dramatically overstated for political reasons” by his critics and said anti-Semitism had been “dramatically overstated for political reasons”.

His stance put him at odds with his successor Sir Keir and led to him having the whip removed on Thursday.

Left-wing supporters are now rallying to Mr Corbyn’s defence, with former shadow cabinet ministers Ms Abbott, John McDonnell and Richard Burgon calling for unity.

Former shadow chancellor Mr McDonnell, addressing a virtual Stand With Corbyn rally organised by campaign group Momentum, appealed to members not to leave Labour or launch a “civil war”.

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He said: “My appeal is for unity, for clarification that we are all on the same page when it comes to wanting to tackle anti-Semitism and the way that we do that is all of us, we stay in the party – this is our Labour Party.

“Secondly, we have lifted the suspension of Jeremy Corbyn. Thirdly, let’s agree across the whole party to launch a programme of anti-racist campaigning and tackling anti-Semitism wherever it rears its head.”

Ms Abbott said it was “vital” that the former leader was reinstated and warned that his suspension would “not help us win the next election”.And she said: “The priority right now for everyone in our party is to come together and successfully improve the way that Labour handles racism and anti-Semitism.”

Ex-shadow justice secretary Mr Burgon said infighting “serves no-one but the Tory government”, and former Cabinet Office minister Jon Trickett said he believed Mr Corbyn could be reinstated.

Their comments came after Len McCluskey, the boss of the Unite union, a major financial backer for Labour, warned the suspension was an “act of grave injustice” that could cause a split and doom the party to defeat.

But Sir Keir said there was “no need for a civil war” in the Labour Party, adding “we need to be united, but we also absolutely need to root out anti-Semitism”.

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