'In full solidarity with comrade and friend' McDonnell & Abbott rally with Corbynites

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Hard left group Momentum, and Mr Corbyn’s former shadow cabinet ministers Diane Abbott, John McDonnell and Richard Burgon, warned the “fightback is on” following Sir Keir Starmer’s decision to withhold the whip from his predecessor – despite the National Executive Committee allowing him to return as a party member. Entitled, ‘Restore the Whip to Jeremy Corbyn’ supporters are encouraged to tune into Momentum’s Youtube channel and Facebook pages by Arise to hear why “the divisive and anti-democratic decision” not to restore the whip to Mr Corbyn “must be reversed”.

Ms Abbott, Mr McDonnell and Mr Burgon will also be joining the event, which will take place this evening.

The online invite reads: “Come and hear why the divisive and anti-democratic decision not to restore the whip to Jeremy Corbyn must be reversed, what we can do to build the pressure and the next steps in the fight for party democracy and socialist policies.

“The fightback is on – get involved. Organised by Arise & Momentum.”

Labour was plunged into chaos last month when Mr Corbyn was suspended from the party following his response to a damning investigation into its handling of anti-Semitism.

A report by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) found the party was responsible for unlawful acts of harassment and discrimination when Mr Corbyn was in charge.

Mr Corbyn responded to the equality watchdog’s findings and said the issue had been “dramatically overstated for political reasons” by his critics.

READ MORE: Labour leader risks fury by reopening bitter Brexit divide in party 

Meanwhile, Labour’s chief whip urged Mr Corbyn to “unequivocally, unambiguously and without reservation” apologise for claiming that the scale of anti-Semitism in the party was “dramatically overstated for political reasons”.

In a letter, Nick Brown said the former Labour leader’s response to a damning Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) report caused “distress and pain” to the Jewish community.

Mr Brown, writing to Mr Corbyn on Monday, said that to inform an investigation into whether the Islington North MP broke the party’s code of conduct he wanted him to consider apologising for his comments.

He wrote: “Will you unequivocally, unambiguously and without reservation apologise for your comments made on the morning of 29 October 2020, in particular for saying ‘One anti-Semite is one too many, but 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’, which caused such distress and pain to Jewish members of the Labour Party and the wider Jewish community?”

Mr Brown also called on Mr Corbyn to confirm that he will remove or edit his response – which he posted on Facebook, and asked for an assurance that he will cooperate fully with the party as it seeks to implement the EHRC’s recommendations.

 

A Labour spokesman said: “Following consultation with the Labour Leader, the Chief Whip has written to Jeremy Corbyn about his precautionary suspension from the whip.

“In the interests of transparency, a copy of this letter has been put in the public domain. We will not be making any further comments.”



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