Keir Starmer said Jeremy Corbyn may not be allowed to stand as a Labour MP at the next general election.
The Labour leader admitted he has not spoken to Corbyn since his predecessor’s response to the Equality and Human Rights Commission report into antisemitism last October, which saw him suspended from the party and stripped of the whip.
Corbyn still sits in Parliament as an independent MP – and Starmer said this is likely to continue into the next election.
“He’s not got the whip at the moment – so he’ll be able to run but wouldn’t be able to as a Labour MP,” he told the BBC’s Political Thinking podcast.
He added: “It’s up to him. He knows what he must do to move this forward. He’s not chosen to do so – that’s his choice.”
Corbyn’s reaction to Labour antisemitism report
The statements come after Corbyn said last year that antisemitism in the Labour Party had been “dramatically overstated for political reasons” after the report looking into the issue under his leadership.
He later clarified the concerns were neither “exaggerated nor overstated” – but he has still been denied the Labour whip in the House of Commons.
Starmer claimed Corbyn had undermined Labour’s work on “restoring trust” with the Jewish community, and suggested the former party leader should issue a full apology before his whip could be restored.
Meanwhile, Tony Blair has urged Labour to “emphatically reject” so-called wokeism and push its far-left factions “to the margins” if it is to win power again.
The former prime minister’s call comes in a foreword to a report suggesting Labour will need a larger voter swing to win the next election than was seen during Blair’s landslide victory in 1997.
Tony Blair’s advice to Starmer
Blair claimed that a “lurch to the far left… will never be electorally successful” following the party’s drubbings at the 1983 and 2019 elections, and urged Starmer to continue to bring the party back to the middle ground.
He said the electoral picture for Labour had been made worse in the decades leading up to the general election loss in 2019 under Corbyn’s leadership – Labour’s worst performance since 1935 – by the fact that working class loyalty to the party had ebbed away.
Polling from Deltapoll – which questioned more than 2,500 former Labour voters and more than 3,000 individuals who remained loyal to Labour – discovered that more than 11 million ex-Labour voters failed to vote for the party in 2019, with 5.5 million turning to Boris Johnson’s Conservatives.
Blair argued the party has a “culture problem with many working class voters” as well as a “credibility problem” with those in the centre of the political spectrum.