Jeremy Corbyn will be readmitted to Labour just weeks after he was suspended for saying the scale of anti-Semitism in the party was “dramatically overstated”, The London Economic understands.
A source close to the former opposition leader said Mr Corbyn would be readmitted though has not yet been formally told, following a meeting of the disputes panel of the party’s ruling National Executive Committee.
Mr Corbyn had the whip withdrawn and was suspended from the party over his response to a damning Equality and Human Rights Commission which found that the party had broken the law in its handling of anti-Semitism complaints.
He had claimed that while “one anti-Semite is one too many” the “scale of the problem was also dramatically overstated for political reasons by our opponents inside and outside the party, as well as by much of the media”.
His suspension came after his successor as Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said that people who believed it was “exaggerated, or a factional attack” were “part of the problem” and “should be nowhere near the Labour Party either”.
But Mr Corbyn acknowledged ahead of a meeting of the disputes committee on Tuesday that concerns around anti-Semitism in Labour were not “exaggerated”.
Statement to the party
He revealed he had given a statement to the party in an attempt to “clear up any confusion” over his initial response and a broadcast interview given in the wake of the report.
In a statement aimed at clarifying his comments, Mr Corbyn had said: “We must never tolerate anti-Semitism or belittle concerns about it. And that was not my intention in anything I said this week.
“I regret the pain this issue has caused the Jewish community and would wish to do nothing that would exacerbate or prolong it.
“To be clear, concerns about anti-Semitism are neither ‘exaggerated’ nor ‘overstated’.
“The point I wished to make was that the vast majority of Labour Party members were and remain committed anti-racists deeply opposed to anti-Semitism.”
Reaction so far has been mixed, with Starmer at risk of annoying both sides of the party with the decision.
What could have been seen as strength comes to be seen as indecision and what might have been seen for Labour as a decisive break on anti-Semitism comes to be muddied. He and leadership will say this isn’t a matter for them but that distinction won’t be perceived.— Lewis Goodall (@lewis_goodall) November 17, 2020
MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle said he was “very pleased indeed that Jeremy Corbyn has been unsuspended from the party,” adding that “we must go forward united and expose the failures of this government”.
Corbyn’s former speechwriter Alex Nunns described the move as a “victory for the left”, while Sky political correspondent Kate McCann said the decision could have been brought about by a in-party rebellion.
Jeremy Corbyn’s readmission is a huge climbdown from the leadership and a victory for the left. His statement released today didn’t alter his original words—no grovelling. He clarified that he didn’t mean concern about antisemitism was overstated, as opposed to the scale of it.— Alex Nunns (@alexnunns) November 17, 2020
Understand a group of Labour MPs have warned Sir Keir Starmer they may resign the whip if Jeremy Corbyn has the whip reinstated. They’re furious, gutted and feel it undermines work done to rebuild bridges with the Jewish community.— Kate McCann (@KateEMcCann) November 17, 2020
Len McCluskey backed the decision, as did several others.
and the transformation of our nations into fairer places for our people. Only Labour, united and strong, can bring this about. 2/2— Len McCluskey (@LenMcCluskey) November 17, 2020