Aaron Bastani leaves the Labour Party

Novara Media founder Aaron Bastani says there are 'deep seated problems inside the party in bringing together the kind of coalition that won Joe Biden the presidency last year'


The founder of the pro-Jeremy Corbyn website Novara Media has left the Labour Party, allegedly ahead of an investigation into his conduct.

Labour sources told the JC that the broadcaster Aaron Bastani, who was once dubbed Jeremy Corbyn’s “attack dog”, had quit his local Labour Party in Hampshire after being alerted to a probe into allegations made against him.

Asked to comment, Mr Bastani told the JC on Friday: “The idea that a journalist and member of the Labour Party would be suspended at the drop of a hat suggests deep seated problems inside the party in bringing together the kind of coalition that won Joe Biden the presidency last year.”

He added: “I don't comment on personal affiliations. Membership data remaining private is a legal matter and party staff show a level of unprofessionalism that should be unbecoming of them by engaging in such trivial tittle-tattle.”

The Labour Party press office told the JC this was not an issue they would offer comment on.

Through the Novara Media website, Mr Bastani, which was founded in 2011, had been at the forefront of the digital media drive to back Mr Corbyn’s project.  

But ahead of the December 2019 election, on the eve of the ballot that saw a catastrophic result for the party, Mr Bastani predicted Labour would get a vote share exceeding 36 per cent.

Despite the heavy defeat, Mr Bastani has been at the centre of the alt-left criticism directed at Sir Keir Starmer as he attempts to take the party in a new direction.

On October 29, the day the EHRC report into Labour antisemitism was published, Mr Bastani wrote: “The political damage Keir Starmer is self-inflicting today, which I think extinguishes much chance of a Labour government, is less because members will leave or the left abstain, but because the Tories can go into 2024 saying Labour are the real racists.”

Mr Bastani also urged left-wing members of the party not to quit over Sir Keir’s new direction. Ahead of the elections for the ruling NEC committee he wrote: “If you’ve left Labour, re-join to vote in the elections for the NEC.”

With the rise of Corbynism, Mr Bastani had been able to secure direct access to the former leader and other senior figures including John McDonnell, Diane Abbott and the former MP Laura Pidock.

But Mr Bastani was also at the centre of a string of controversies over Labour’s antisemitism crisis and on Israel.

In one tweet he called the former Labour MP Chris Williamson - who was accused by the Board of Deputies of “Jew baiting” - as  “legendary”.

And commenting on a letter signed by 68 rabbis condemning antisemitism in Mr Corbyn’s party, he wrote: “First thing the leader of the opposition’s office should have done was examine record of most of the Rabbis signing ….others like Sachs will be right wing ultra-nationalists.”

He also praised an article that questioned Dame Margaret Hodge’s credentials as an “anti-racist hero.”

Mr Bastani has also tweeted claims about “Soros/Rothschilds” control of the media in the past.

In November 2018 he sparked fury with his position on the annual poppy appeal, an annual fundraising campaign run by the Royal British Legion  for veterans of the British armed forces.

In an episode of Novara Media podcast  "The Bastani Factor", he described the poppy appeal as "racist" and "white supremacist" because, in his opinion, the appeal "has a kind of triumphalist militarism to it".

The comments attracted widespread criticism in the national media, including from the Labour Party's  Shadow Defence Secretary Nia Griffith who suggested Mr Bastani should be expelled from the party.


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