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Labour suspends two senior local party officials after motion to reinstate Jeremy Corbyn

Sophia Sleigh
·3-min read
<p>The motion called on Sir Keir Starmer to restore the whip to Jeremy Corbyn</p> (PA)

The motion called on Sir Keir Starmer to restore the whip to Jeremy Corbyn

(PA)

Labour has suspended two senior officials of a local party after a motion was passed to reinstate Jeremy Corbyn as a Labour MP, the Standard can reveal.

Hampstead and Kilburn CLP defied orders from Labour HQ to pass a motion calling on Sir Keir Starmer to restore the whip to his predecessor during a “chaotic” Zoom meeting last Thursday evening.

Witnesses on the call, which included around 100 people, said the meeting felt “overtly hostile” and left Jewish members feeling upset.

Sources confirmed that left-wing chair Pete Firmin and vice chair Bridget Dunne have since been suspended from the party pending an investigation.

One witness said: “It was a fiasco, the worst run meeting I’ve ever been to. We didn’t even know what we were voting for half the time.

“It was completely insensitive and clearly showed people were not interested in listening to the general secretary and not serious about a Labour government. Total denial that Corbyn did anything wrong.

“But I’m greatly relieved national party is treating inflammatory behaviour seriously. This wouldn’t have happened six months ago. People outside the cult are genuinely relieved the party is treating this seriously.”

Another added: “A lot of the people in that group are Jewish and lots of them were very upset. Keir means business, this never would have happened in the past.”

The motion, put forward by a local union branch, called on leader Sir Keir to restore the whip to Mr Corbyn “immediately” and demanded all members who had been suspended for refusing to accept requests not to discuss his suspension to be reinstated.

The Jewish Chronicle reported that the motion received 46 votes in favour, 36 votes against and 15 abstentions. Although Mr Firmin has said on Twitter that those figures are wrong.

It comes after Labour’s general secretary David Evans told local Labour parties that any such motions “will be ruled out of order”.

<p>Local MP Tulip Siddiq said she was “angry and saddened”</p>Lucy Young

Local MP Tulip Siddiq said she was “angry and saddened”

Lucy Young

The move is sparking a fresh battle in the Labour Party that could see scores of suspensions across local parties.

A number of similar motions have been passed in other CLPs across the country including Nottingham East where the chair was also suspended.

Mr Corbyn was readmitted as a Labour member earlier this month, after a short suspension for his reaction to the damning Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) report into anti-Semitism in the party.

However, his successor Sir Keir has refused to restore the whip which would allow Mr Corbyn to sit in Parliament as a Labour MP.

Hampstead and Kilburn Labour MP Tulip Siddiq said: “I am angry and saddened that clear instructions from Labour HQ were deliberately ignored at a meeting of my local CLP in order to debate a motion that would obviously cause considerable hurt to the Jewish community.

“I wasn’t present at the section of the meeting when the motion was debated, and I have been working with local members and party officials since to establish what took place and ensure that appropriate action is taken in response to any rule-breaking.”

She said it would not be right for her to comment on an ongoing disciplinary case, but added: “It is incumbent on all party officials, representatives and members to take the EHRC report seriously and do everything they can to make Jewish people feel welcome in our party.”

A Labour spokesperson said: “The Labour Party takes all complaints seriously and they are fully investigated in line with our rules and procedures and any appropriate action is taken.”

The Standard has made attempts to contact Mr Firmin. Ms Dunne replied: “Labour Party rules prohibit discussion of ongoing disciplinary matters.”

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