Starmer faces huge Labour split over blocking Corbyn

LBC: Keir Starmer denies Jeremy Corbyn is a friend

Labour voters are split over whether Sir Keir Starmer was right to ban Jeremy Corbyn from standing for the party at the next general election, new polling shows. The YouGov poll found 41 percent said it was the wrong decision, compared to 36 percent who said it was right.

In the survey of 484 Labour voters carried out from March 29 to 30, some 23 percent did not know.

The poll found Sir Keir’s ban on his predecessor from running for Labour at the next election was more likely to be backed by the public as a whole.

Some 48 percent of 2,002 British adults said the Labour leader was right, compared to 27 percent who said he was wrong and 25 percent who were unsure.

The poll also showed 27 percent of Labour voters said Mr Corbyn was an electoral asset, while 44 percent said he was a liability.

But across all Britons, a clear majority – 56 percent – said the veteran left-winger was an electoral liability, compared to just 14 percent who said he was an asset.

Labour’s National Executive Committee last week backed a proposal from Sir Keir not to endorse Mr Corbyn in contesting Islington North for the party at the next election.

The former Labour leader, who lost the whip following an antisemitism row, has criticised the move as a “shameful attack on party democracy”.

Mr Corbyn accused his successor of launching “an assault on the rights of his own Labour members” and “breaking his pledge to build a united and democratic party that advances social, economic and climate justice”.

In a hint he will stand as an independent, Mr Corbyn added: “I will not be intimidated into silence. I have spent my life fighting for a fairer society on behalf of the people of Islington North, and I have no intention of stopping now.”

The former Labour leader’s allies have criticised the move, which threatens to re-ignite a row with the Labour left.

If Mr Corbyn did run as an independent in the London seat he has represented since 1983, he could create a distracting challenge for Sir Keir at the next general election.

But the move could also see him lose the membership of a party which he has held for nearly 60 years.

The veteran left-winger remains a Labour member but sits as an independent in the Commons after losing the whip in 2020 over his response to the damning Equality and Human Rights Commission report on antisemitism in the party.

Sir Keir insisted that he leads a “united” and “positive” Labour Party during a visit to Medway on Saturday amid the row over his predecessor.

And he yesterday denied he ever considered Mr Corbyn as a “friend” as he continues to attempt to distance himself from his former boss.

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