Jeremy Corbyn said he will “strongly contest” the political intervention to suspend him from the party after the move split opinion on social media.
The former Labour leader was suspended in light of his comments made today and his failure to retract them subsequently, a spokesperson for the party said.
He has also had the whip removed from the Parliamentary Labour Party.
NEW: extraordinary moment. Jeremy Corbyn has had the whip withdrawn by Keir Starmer and been suspended from the Labour Party pending investigation.— Lewis Goodall (@lewis_goodall) October 29, 2020
The astonishing development comes hours after Sir Keir Starmer, Corbyn’s successor as Labour leader, vowed “zero tolerance” towards antisemitism under his leadership, following the publication of a bombshell report by the Equalities and Human Rights Commission.
“If, after all the pain, all the grief and all the evidence in this report there are still those who think that there is no problem with antisemitism in the Labour Party – that it’s all exaggerated, or a factional attack – then frankly you are part of the problem too, and you should be nowhere near the Labour Party,” Starmer said.
His intervention came minutes after his predecessor Corbyn responded to the report by lashing out at “opponents inside and outside the Party” and the media, who he claims “dramatically overstated” the issue for “political reasons”.
My statement following the publication of the EHRC report can be read at https://t.co/Qq3rBwt7qI— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) October 29, 2020
Following news of the suspension Corbyn released a statement saying he will “strongly contest the political intervention to suspend me.
“I’ve made absolutely clear those who deny there has been an antisemitism problem in the Labour Party are wrong.
“I will continue to support a zero tolerance policy towards all forms of racism.”
The decision is likely to have huge ramifications, particularly on the left of the party – coming just weeks after Unite reduced its funding.
The reaction on both sides has been quite explosive. We’ve picked out the best so far below:
Keir Starmer’s suspension of Jeremy Corbyn is likely his defining moment, similar to Kinnock’s 1985 repudiation of Militant and Blair’s Clause IV moment in 1995. The difference today is this is *the Labour leader taking action against his predecessor*— Jane Merrick (@janemerrick23) October 29, 2020
This is the right decision following Corbyn’s shameful reaction to the EHRC report.— Margaret Hodge (@margarethodge) October 29, 2020
Labour is finally saying enough is enough, antisemitism can never be tolerated in our party. Now we can finally move on. https://t.co/dn8SxvV9sy
I urge all party members to stay calm as that is the best way to support Jeremy and each other. Let’s all call upon the leadership to lift this suspension.— John McDonnell MP (@johnmcdonnellMP) October 29, 2020
The single most striking statement issued by a party in years. This is precisely the defining row Starmer wants, and Corbyn has been foolish enough to give it to him today. pic.twitter.com/OF89FucHAu— Tom Newton Dunn (@tnewtondunn) October 29, 2020
Keir Starmer’s intention is to drive the Left out of the Labour Party.— Ronan Burtenshaw (@ronanburtenshaw) October 29, 2020
Neither the EHRC report nor Corbyn’s mild response to it provide a basis for this suspension.
Solidarity with Jeremy Corbyn. They’re about to discover just how many supporters he has.
The decision to suspend Corbyn achieves nothing. It’s a symbolic measure that will only give fuel to the few genuinely malicious voices who think of themselves as on the left. A real opportunity for learning has been thrown away in favour of factionalism.— Rob Abrams (@Rob_K_Abrams) October 29, 2020