Keir Starmer in crisis as he’s warned he faces leadership challenge over Corbyn snub

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The former Labour leader was suspended earlier this month following his response to an investigation into anti-Semitism by the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC).

Responding to the report, Mr Corbyn claimed the scale of the anti-Semitism problem during his leadership was “dramatically overstated for political reasons”.

While Mr Corbyn was readmitted as a party member this week, his successor said he will not sit as a Labour MP in the House of Commons.

But Sir Keir has been warned he could face a leadership challenge if he continues his “vendetta” against the former Opposition leader.

Former Labour chairman Ian Lavery told the Commons People podcast: “It looks very much that this is a vengeful, divisive, provocative sort of move from Keir Starmer.

“This isn’t about uniting the party – it looks to me as if it’s a personal and political vendetta now from the new leader of the party to the previous leader of the party.”

Mr Lavery went on to urge Labour to set out clearly who made the decision on Mr Corbyn’s suspension.

He continued: “Who made the decision that Keir has got the overriding powers to overrule the national executive committee [Labour’s ruling body]?

“I’m not being melodramatic but that’s a little bit like a tin pot dictatorship to me.

“We’ve got to have some form of democracy in the party and at this moment in time it doesn’t look like we have.”

The Wansbeck MP also revealed he would refuse to “walk away” from the party if Mr Corbyn was not fully reinstated.

He told Huffington Post: “I want the party to be united.

“I want the party to flourish, move forward, win an election in 2024.

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“If that’s with Keir Starmer, that’s fine.

“I hope that Keir can unify the party.

“I’ve got to say the first few months of his leadership would suggest that’s not his intention – unless he proves otherwise, of course.

“Keir is the leader.

“Obviously he should be in pole position to be leader of the party at the next election.

“But there’s a lot hinging on how Keir reacts not just to this but how Keir performs on behalf of the party.”

Sir Keir said Mr Corbyn’s comments about the report has “undermined… our work in restoring trust” with the Jewish community.

In a statement on Tuesday, Sir Keir said: “I’m the leader of the Labour Party, but I’m also the leader of the Parliamentary Labour Party.

“Jeremy Corbyn’s actions in response to the EHRC report undermined and set back our work in restoring trust and confidence in the Labour Party’s ability to tackle antisemitism.

“In those circumstances, I have taken the decision not to restore the whip to Jeremy Corbyn. I will keep this situation under review.”

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