Starmer warned ‘far-left fanatics’ rather Corbyn return and ‘torpedo’ Labour’s credibility
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Mr Corbyn was humiliated after leading Labour to a crushing general election defeat and was replaced by Sir Keir in April, who vowed to reunite a party that had been ripped apart by vicious infighting. But at the end of last month, Labour was plunged into crisis when former leader Mr Corbyn was suspended after he said the extent of anti-Semitism in the party had been “dramatically overstated for political reasons”, in response to a report from the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC). The findings of the 18-month investigation found the Labour Party was responsible for unlawful acts of harassment and discrimination.
The party was found to be responsible for three breaches of the Equality Act (2010) relating to: political interference in complaints, failure to provide adequate training to those handling anti-Semitism cases and harassment.
But in response to the report, Mr Corbyn said the scale of the anti-Semitism problem in Labour was “dramatically overstated” for political reasons.
Labour then announced the party had “suspended Jeremy Corbyn pending investigation” following his failure to retract the comments.
John Macdonald, Head of Government Affairs at the Adam Smith Institute think tank, warned Sir Keir will find the stain of anti-Semitism hanging over Labour extremely difficult to remove, as he praised his efforts thus far of “scrubbing it clean”.
But he warned the more Sir Keir tries to do this, a bigger rebellion will grow from “far-left fanatics”, who are so intent on having Mr Corbyn reinstated that it would rather “torpedo Labour’s credibility than improve Labour’s performance at the ballot box”.
Mr Macdonald told Express.co.uk: “The Tories are sitting on a huge majority, over a Labour Party still fresh from one of its worst ever election results, dogged by internal conflict, and disgraced by the EHRC report.
“The stain of anti-Semitism will be extremely difficult to remove. In suspending Jeremy Corbyn, Starmer has proven his commitment to scrubbing it clean.
“But the more he does so, the more he will have to battle far-left fanatics.
“It is clear that they would rather see Corbyn reinstated and torpedo Labour’s credibility than improve Labour’s performance at the ballot box.”
Alistair Jones, Associate Professor in Politics, and University Teacher Fellow, at De Montfort University, Leicester, believes Sir Keir now faces “a near-impossible job” to reunite a warring Labour Party, warning if the constant infighting continues, even more UK votes could be lost.
He told this website: “It is a near-impossible job, as every Labour leader has found. Sometimes the fight within the Labour Party appears more important than the fight against the Conservatives.
“It is over the ‘ideological purity’ of the party.
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“We have seen similar in the Conservative Party during the Blair and Brown years. Hague, IDS and Howard all suffered a similar problem.
“Cameron smoothed over aspects of that division. Starmer is trying to do the same in the Labour Party.”
He added: “The infighting is going to be a little problematic in the short term. At this moment, it is little more than bluster.
“If it persists, then there is a chance it will cost votes.
“This will need to be balanced against the votes gained through maintaining a firm line.”
Ben Harris-Quinney, Chairman of the Bow Group think tank, warned if Sir Keir cannot narrow the deep divisions within Labour, he can forget about becoming the UK’s next Prime Minister.
He said: “It’s a tough job, but this is a man applying for the job of Prime Minister.
“The UK system for picking our leaders has allowed too many through that weren’t up to the job, because they hadn’t been tested either to their popularity or competence.
“If Keir Starmer can’t sort out the Labour Party’s problems, then he has no business bidding to sort out the country’s problems.”
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