Jeremy Corbyn will not stand for Labour at next election, Keir Starmer to confirm

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  • March 27, 2023
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Jeremy Corbyn will not stand as a Labour MP at the next general election, Keir Starmer will confirm at Tuesday’s national executive committee (NEC) meeting after he vowed to prove the party had changed under his leadership.

The Labour leader will propose a motion that makes it clear the party’s ruling body will not endorse Corbyn as a Labour candidate for the Westminster election expected next year.

Starmer first confirmed the move last month as he marked an “important moment” for Labour after the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) lifted the party out of special measures over its past failings on antisemitism.

‘We’re not going back’: Corbyn won’t stand as Labour MP in next election, says Starmer – video

The motion Starmer will propose at the NEC does not explicitly mention antisemitism. Instead, it says Labour’s electoral prospects in the seats it needs to win at the next election would be “significantly diminished” should Corbyn be a Labour candidate.

It continues that the NEC’s “primary purpose“ is to maximise the party’s prospects of winning the next election and to avoid any “detrimental impact” on its standing with the electorate. “The Labour party’s interests, and its political interests at the next general election, are not well served by Mr Corbyn running as a Labour party candidate,” it concludes.

Corbyn hit back by saying Starmer had broken his commitment to respect the rights of Labour members and denigrated the party’s democratic foundations.

Resisting calls to declare whether he will stand as an independent candidate, Corbyn said in a statement: “As the government plunges millions into poverty and demonises refugees, Keir Starmer has focused his opposition on those demanding a more progressive and humane alternative.

“Our message is clear: we are not going anywhere. Neither is our determination to stand up for a better world.”

In a clear mark of his growing confidence, Starmer had also invited Labour MPs, members and activists who have long supported Corbyn to leave the party if they did not agree with his stance on driving out antisemitism.

At the time, Corbyn accused his successor of a “flagrant attack on the democratic rights” of Islington North party members, saying it was for them “not party leaders” to decide who their candidate should be at the next election.

A senior Labour source said: “Keir Starmer has made clear that Jeremy Corbyn won’t be a Labour candidate at the next general election. The Labour party now is unrecognisable from the one that lost in 2019. Tuesday’s vote will confirm this and ensure we can focus on our five missions to build a better Britain.”

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Corbyn was suspended from Labour in October 2020 for suggesting complaints of antisemitism had been “dramatically overstated” for political reasons. His membership was later reinstated but Starmer refused to restore the party whip, meaning he sits as an independent MP.

He led the party for nearly five years, quitting after it suffered its worst election defeat in 80 years in 2019. He has not yet announced whether he will run as an independent at the next election.

The NEC has the power to endorse, or not endorse, a candidate selected for election. It is expected to back the move.

A spokesperson for the grassroots group Momentum said: “We utterly condemn this venal and duplicitous act from Keir Starmer, which further divides the Labour party and insults the millions of people inspired by Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership

“We urge all NEC representatives to reject this anti-democratic manoeuvre tomorrow – it should be for Islington North Labour members to decide their candidate, not a neighbouring MP drunk on his own power.”