Keir Starmer confirms Corbyn will not stand for Labour in next election

He also reiterated his apology to the Jewish community for the hurt caused by Corbyn's leadership


LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 15: Labour leader Keir Starmer speaks at Toynbee Hall on February 15, 2023 in London, England. The Equalities and Human Rights Commission has ended monitoring the Labour Party, saying it has met the demands imposed after a devastating report on antisemitism within the party in 2020. Keir Starmer apologised for the hurt caused to the Jewish community. He said, "What you have been through can never be undone. Apologies alone cannot make it right." The EHRC decision is "not a moment for celebration, but a moment for reflection". (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

Jeremy Corbyn will not stand as a Labour candidate at the next general election, his successor Sir Keir Starmer confirmed this morning.

Speaking at a press conference in east London in the wake of the news that the Equalities and Human Rights Commission has taken the party out of special measures, Starmer said unequivocally: “Let me be very clear about that; Jeremy Corbyn will not stand for Labour at the next general election.

“What I said about the party changing I meant, and we are not going back, and that is why Jeremy Corbyn will not stand as a Labour candidate at the next general election.”

In a conciliatory yet defiant speech in the presence of representatives and leaders of the Jewish community, Starmer declared that there will be “zero tolerance or patience” for those who downplay or deny antisemitism.

It follows on from comments he made on the Today programme last December when he said that he did not "see the circumstances in which Jeremy Corbyn will stand as a Labour candidate", adding that Labour is continuing apace with its selection processes.

In a blunt message to those who have been vocally opposed to changes made to the party under his leadership, Starmer said that the party is unrecognisable from 2019 and it will “never go back”.

 “It will never again be a party captured by narrow interests,” he said. “It will never again lose sight of its purpose or its morals. And it will never again be brought to its knees by racism or bigotry.

 “If you don’t like that, if you don’t like the changes we have made, I say the door is open and you can leave.

“But to all those who can see we have changed for the better, and are excited about doing even more. To all those who dream of a Britain that is fairer, greener, more dynamic. To all those who want to make this great country, greater still I say the door is open. Come in. Make us your home again.”

He also reiterated his apology to the Jewish community, saying: “To all those who were hurt, to all those who were let down, to all those driven out of our party, who no longer felt it was their home, who suffered the most appalling abuse.

“Today, on behalf of the entire Labour Party, I say: sorry.”

Present at the speech was Board of Deputies president Marie Van Der Zyl, Jewish Labour MP Margaret Hodge, Jewish Labour peer Ruth Smeeth, and Dame Louise Ellman who quit the party in October 2019 citing allegations of antisemitism in the party (she rejoined in 2021). 

Speaking ahead of Starmer, Ms Van Der Zyl hailed the progress made under his leadership, but cautioned that there are still ongoing issues at local party level.

Just yesterday, the JC revealed that a Romford Labour party official had been posting material deemed “antisemitic”, and as a result had been suspended pending an investigation. 

Asked by the JC how he will address problems at the local level of the party, Starmer said: “We will continue with the same robust approach because the changes we’ve put in place are fundamental, they’re substantial.

"The Labour Party has changed, and the commission would not have signed off today if they didn’t think it was fundamental and substantial. 

“Wherever there is antisemitism, we will chase it down and we will deal with it in the same robust way we have done over the past two to three years.” 

Chair of Jewish Labour Mike Katz, told the JC that it was a “hugely significant moment for JLM, for the Labour Party, but also for British politics.

"As Keir said today, this is not the end of the journey, but it’s certainly an important milestone.”

“Few in the community who would want to give the guy the benefit of the doubt could have expected him to move at such pace and with such depth and with such rigour as he has done over the past few years.”

“I think it’s really clear that the action that Keir Starmer has taken on antisemitism and the attitude that he was taken towards Jeremy Corbyn is crystal clear, and actually, it’s important that we focus on taking the message, from our perspective, to the Jewish community, and from his perspective, the wider electorate, that the party is one that can be trusted again."

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