Jeremy should be a Labour MP – Rachel Garnham, CLPD

“The NEC decision to prevent Jeremy Corbyn restanding for re-election as a Labour Member of Parliament for Islington North is shameful on every level.”

By Rachel Garnham, Campaign for Labour Party Democracy

The decision of Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC) to prevent Jeremy Corbyn restanding for re-election as a Labour Member of Parliament for Islington North is shameful on every level.

First it denies the basic right of members to select the candidate of their choice. This should apply at local, constituency and regional levels. It ensures that the candidate has the confidence of local communities, that they have a connections and accountability they need to do a good job and that the best person for the role is chosen.

This is a basic Labour Party principle, and is just one of the many pledges that Keir Starmer has broken. On 4 February 2020, as part of his Leadership campaign, Starmer tweeted: ‘local Party members should select their candidates for every election.’ We now know that this is definitely not his view and that it was presented in order to convince party members that he was a suitable candidate for the job of Labour Leader.

Second, the reason given for prematurely refusing to endorse Jeremy Corbyn as a candidate at the general election was “that the Labour Party’s standing with the electorate in the country, and its electoral prospects in seats it is required to win in order to secure a Parliamentary majority and/or win the next general election, are both significantly diminished should Mr Corbyn be endorsed by the Labour Party as one of its candidates for the next general election.” This claim is patently false but buys into the establishment rewriting of the history of the 2019 Brexit general election.

Of course if Jeremy Corbyn was the Labour candidate at the next general election in Islington North he would win comfortably. He has served the constituency well for 40 years and has a substantial majority. As one of 631 Labour candidates it seems unlikely that he would be anything other than an electoral asset based on his record. Naturally the right wing media vilification, aided by the right wing of the Labour Party, would continue. Anyone with even a cursory knowledge of political history, knows that the establishment will seize on anything – from bacon sandwich eating to choice of jacket – to undermine a Labour campaign, even with the more pro-establishment leaders, because the historic commitment to public ownership and link to the trade union movement means that even a right-wing Labour government is under pressure to create a more equal society and deliver for working people.

However Jeremy’s record in growing the Labour Party into the biggest political party in Western Europe and reversing the trend of Labour decline, achieving a higher share of the vote for Labour in 2017 and 2019 than Labour achieved in 2010 and 2015 and motivating in particular young, Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic, and women voters to vote Labour, generating notable swings from Green and Lib Dem voters to Labour and gaining high support amongst voters of working age and those in private rented accommodation. These are crucial elements of the coalition that we need to win a Labour government.

Rather than prioritise chasing older, Brexit supporting voters in a minority of seats, it would be electorally expedient to give a greater priority to trying to mobilse a wider coalition of voters including those who were attracted by the anti-austerity, anti-racist leadership shown by Jeremy Corbyn. It appears foolish to rely on Tory collapse rather than build a positive coalition for Labour.

But – thirdly – interviews with senior Labour figures illustrate that there is yet more dishonesty at play. They fall back on blaming Jeremy’s response to the EHRC report (not mentioned in the NEC resolution) as their reason that he cannot be supported. Jeremy made an honest response to the report. A brief disciplinary process then took place which concluded with the re-confirmation of his Labour Party membership. However, the Tory press was not content with this. It totally opposes Jeremy’s progressive policies, of opposition to austerity, racism and war, so it demanded further action be taken against Jeremy. So what followed has been the suspension of Jeremy from the PLP and the NEC barring his candidature. The establishment very much would like to see the left crushed within the Labour Party.

So, where do we go from here? Members in Islington North would be best placed to decide if either of the reasons of above warrant a change in representation for their constituency from the Member of Parliament who has served constituents so well, who is at the heart of his community and who has always put the people of Islington North first. It is not too late for that to happen. I am also reminded strongly of when Ken Livingstone was denied the right to stand as Labour’s candidate for London Mayor in 2000, despite the support of Labour members and trade unions. Eventually common sense prevailed, Ken was restored to Party membership and won in 2004 as the Labour candidate.

I continue to live in hope that Jeremy Corbyn will be restored to his rightful position as a Labour MP.  

  • Rachel is co-chair of the Campaign for Labour Party Democracy (CLPD). You can follow her on Twitter here; and follow CLPD on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Sign the petition demanding Islington North’s members should be able to select their candidates here.
  • Let the Members Decide – For Labour Party Democracy” takes place online on Wednesday April 5, 6.30pm. With Jess Barnard, Labour NEC (pc); Jon Trickett MP; Neil Findlay, former MSP; Rachel Garnham, CLPD; Martin Abrams, Momentum NCG; Nabeela Mowlana, Young Labour Chair; Mish Rahman, Labour NEC (pc) and more. Register and find out more here.
Let the members decide – for Labour Party Democracy. Online event taking place Wednesday 5th April, 6.30PM.
Featured image: Jeremy Corbyn, speaking at a political rally during the Labour leadership election, in Matlock, Derbyshire, 16th August 2016. Photo credit: Sophie J. Brown under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

6 thoughts on “Jeremy should be a Labour MP – Rachel Garnham, CLPD

  1. Corbyn’s been there for every campaign or issue since the beginning of my political life and is one of few Labour MP’s not bought off by Establishment patronage, i.e. no honours or establishment accolades. He has been the most consistent supporter of good causes from CND to the Anti Apartheid campaign. He’s a very good man in every respect and that’s why the 5 multibillionaires hate him (Owners of the popular press)

  2. NO he should not be an MP of Starmers Labour. He should take advantage of his enforced Independence and stand as an Independent MP. He should not be dirtied by the dishonesty and treachery of Starmers Labour. Starmers Labour NO. Independent Socialist YES

  3. As former Jeremy Corbyn supporters, My wife and myself supported Keir Starmer for Labour Leader, and ignored who said that he would ditch our progressive policies and turn on anyone who didn’t agree with him. Please Keir, admit you got this one wrong, and leave it to Islington North members to choose.

  4. I would have passionately supported this campaign if it were not for the party’s scurrilous treatment of Mr Corbyn exacerbated by the other actions of Starmer’s Labour. The party is no longer democratic in its behaviour and has been totally sabotaged by right-wing elements within it supported by the mainstream media. I have the utmost faith in Corbyn and totally support the manifesto he formulated and which gained such traction in 2017. But the current Labour Party does not deserve Mr Corbyn, his manifesto or the support of The Many for whose interests he campaigned. I hope a new platform can be created by The Left which can gain the support of major trades unions and the backing of Mr Corbyn, and go on to propose the same objectives as outlined in the 2017 Labour manifesto.

  5. I have been a member of the Labour Party for over 30 years.My late wife,when she learnt that Jeremy Corbyn had become leader,joined straightaway and became involved in our branch.
    We went campaigning with Keir Starmer after Frank Dobson retired as the M.P. for the constituency.
    We sang the Red Flag with Keir Stamer a great Christmas Party.We both understood what he said.Please Keir allow local party members to select Jeremy Corbyn as their candidate for the next General Election.

  6. Justice forJeremy! His CLP are the only people who should be deciding this. Also a safe seat could even be lost to Labiour so not the best tactics.

Leave a Reply