Jeremy Corbyn could run as independent if whip not restored

Jeremy Corbyn

"#juniordoctorsstrike Jeremy Corbyn" (Public Domain) by garryknight

Supporters of Jeremy Corbyn are expecting him to run in the next election for his Islington North seat as an independent if he is still not allowed to represent the Labour party. They believe he has a good chance of winning in the constituency he has held since 1983. 

Kier Starmer has said Corbyn, who was Labour leader before him, may not be able to stand as a Labour candidate unless the party whip is restored after it was suspended in a row over antisemitism. No decision has been made by Corbyn, as the next general election is not likely until 2023, but his supporters expect him to follow Ken Livingstone’s example. Livingstone stood for London Mayor despite not having been chosen to run for Labour. 

Corbyn’s last run for his seat ended with a victory and a huge majority of 26,188. This gave him 63.4% of the vote and his backers believe he would win the seat again despite having the party whip removed. He would probably be joined in the campaign by other members who have moved away from Labour under Starmer’s leadership. 

Starmer has not spoken to Jeremy Corbyn in over a year and on Friday 26 November, said that the ball was in his court as regards having the whip restored. Asked whether it was likely Corbyn would not be able to stand as a Labour candidate, Starmer replied: “I don’t know, but at the moment that may be the case.”

Speaking on the BBC’s Political Thinking podcast, Starmer added: “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. It’s up to him … he knows what he must do in order to move this forward. He’s not chosen to do so – that’s his choice.”

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Written by

Claire Gordon