Starmer’s decision, however, provoked a backlash from the left of the party, with 31 MPs from the Socialist campaign group calling it “bad and damaging to Labor”.
The move came a day after a disciplinary panel from the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) lifted the suspension of Corbyn’s membership in the party over controversial remarks he made when the Equality Commission and Human Rights (EHRC) released a damning report on Labor anti-Semitism last month.
Starmer said: “Jeremy Corbyn’s actions in response to the EHRC report have undermined and delayed our work to restore confidence in the ability of the Labor Party to tackle anti-Semitism. Under these circumstances, I made the decision not to return the whip to Jeremy Corbyn. I will keep this situation under review. ”
Corbyn was suspended for a statement he released following the release of the EHRC report on October 29, in which he said the problem of anti-Semitism in the workplace had been “dramatically overestimated for political reasons by our opponents inside and outside the party, as well as by much of the media ”.In a “clarification” submitted to the NEC and made public this week, Corbyn said the allegations of anti-Semitism had not been “exaggerated”.
Starmer made his decision after speaking to Hodge on Tuesday night. It is understood that the former Labor MP almost left. She told Starmer that she felt betrayed by the rapid lifting of Corbyn’s suspension and that it risked destroying any restored trust with Jewish community groups.
Hodge told The Guardian: “Keir made the right decision but a lot of confidence was eroded. I cannot tell you the anger of the Jewish community. There was a lot of trust and a lot of people will feel frustrated and hurt by what happened, it’s devastating.
Corbyn’s allies are considering legal action as a possible next step – the ex-leader has raised a legal fight fund totaling more than £ 300,000.
Starmer has been accused of “bad faith” by Unite leader Len McCluskey, who his allies said was involved in negotiating a deal he and others said would allow the former leader to sit again as a Labor MP.
Several sources claim that conversations have taken place in recent weeks between Corbyn representatives and key figures in Starmer’s office, including his chief of staff, Morgan McSweeney.
Corbyn’s side believed that the outcome of these negotiations was that the NEC would impose a lesser sanction on Corbyn and the case would be closed. They claim that the “clarification” published by Corbyn earlier this week has been approved by Starmer’s office.
However, a source from Starmer’s office insisted that “there was no deal”. They said Corbyn was repeatedly asked to withdraw his comments last month – and that his allies had simply “pushed” for his readmission to the party.
A Labor source also said the party leader was angered by tweets sent Tuesday by people they considered Corbyn’s “outriders”, suggesting Corbyn had been exonerated.
In fact, the NEC panel censored Corbyn’s behavior, sending him a ‘reminder’. There were other conditions attached to the decision as well: The Guardian understands that one of them was for Corbyn to delete his controversial first Facebook post, which he did not do on Wednesday night.
In a public statement released Wednesday evening, McCluskey said: “I am amazed at the decision to withdraw the PLP [Parliamentary Labour party] whip of Jeremy Corbyn.
“This is vindictive and revengeful action, which strips party democracy and due process, and amounts to overturning the unanimous decision of the NEC panel yesterday to readmit Jeremy to the party.
“This action gives rise to a double jeopardy in the handling of the case and shows marked bad faith.”
The Starmer team stressed that the chief had no say in the composition of the NEC disciplinary committees, nor their conclusions.
Marie van der Zyl, chair of the Council of Deputies of British Jews, hailed Starmer’s decision and criticized the process which led to Corbyn’s readmission to the party.
“The disciplinary process of work is still not suited to its purpose. Keir Starmer has now made the appropriate leadership decision not to return the whip to Jeremy Corbyn, ”she said. “We continue to say that ‘zero tolerance’ must mean precisely that, whether it is for anti-Semites or their apologists.”
Labor MP Neil Coyle, who sharply criticized Corbyn’s approach to anti-Semitism while he was at the helm, said the case should be reviewed by the independent process Starmer said he would put in place in accordance with EHRC recommendations.
“Keir is trying to achieve his first avowed priority as a Labor leader: rebuilding trust with the Jewish community,” he said.
“The whip cannot be reinstated until the new, truly independent complaints process has assessed this matter and ensured that a fair decision is made.”
The NEC committee was summoned with a one-day warning, although members were not made aware of the case they would chair.
It is understood that the panel members received a “draconian” warning from party lawyers, saying that more than a formal reprimand would have ended up in the High Court.
However, the panel agreed to attach conditions to the reprimand and the decision was ultimately unanimous after much debate.
Party sources said there would be no way for the leader’s office to correct the group’s decision, although it was known internally that the NEC group’s sanctioning power was limited.