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Corbyn vows to ‘continue fighting’ after barred from running as Labour MP

Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn (C) holds his party's manifesto book aloft as he addresses a crowd outside the venue of a general election campaign event in Swansea, south Wales, the United Kingdom, on December 7, 2019. (File photo by AFP)

Jeremy Corbyn has dropped hint that he will run as an independent against the Labour Party in the next election after the former party leader was blocked from standing for the country's opposition party as an election candidate.

The National Executive Committee (NEC), the party's governing body, on Tuesday voted 22 to 12 to approve a motion from Sir Keir Starmer, the current leader of the Labour Party, to prevent Labour from endorsing the 73-year-old Corbyn.

A Labour spokesperson confirmed Tuesday that the motion had passed 22-12. 

“The NEC’s decision to block my candidacy for Islington North is a shameful attack on party democracy, party members and natural justice,” Corbyn said in a statement shortly after the vote, which also prompted left-wingers fiercely denounced Keir Starmer’s “authoritarian” and “divisive” move.

The former Labour leader also gave a strong hint that he would run independently against the Labour at the next election.

“Today’s disgraceful move shows contempt for the millions of people who voted for our Party in 2017 and 2019, and will demotivate those who still believe in the importance of a transformative Labour government," he said in a statement. 

“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."

The MP was suspended from the Labour whip by Starmer in 2020 after he suggested the antisemitism cases in the party had been “dramatically overstated for political reasons.” 

Separately, the Islington North constituency Labour party (CLP) also slammed the ban on Corbyn, saying in a statement that voters “deserve a free and fair vote on who gets to represent them".

"Therefore, we reject the NEC’s undue interference in Islington North, which undermines our goal of defeating the Conservatives and working with our communities for social justice," it stated.

Back in October 2020, the UK’s Equality and Human Rights Commission claimed in a report that Labour under Corbyn had broken the law in its “inexcusable” handling of complaints about anti-Semitism.

“Our investigation has identified serious failings in leadership and an inadequate process for handling anti-Semitism complaints across the Labour Party, and we have identified multiple failures in the systems it uses to resolve them,” the 130-page report alleged at the time.

“We have concluded that there were unlawful acts of harassment and discrimination for which the Labour Party is responsible."

Corbyn's membership was later reinstated but Starmer refused to restore the party whip, meaning he sits as an independent lawmaker.

Corbyn has been an MP since 1983. 

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