In Brief

What comes next for Labour after the suspension of Jeremy Corbyn?

Predictions of ‘civil war’ and ‘battle for party’s soul’ in the years ahead

After Jeremy Corbyn yesterday became the first former Labour leader to be suspended from the party in its 130-year history, a full-scale civil war between the party’s left and more moderate members lining up behind Keir Starmer has been set in motion.

Starmer faces a “battle for Labour’s soul” after his former boss had the party whip removed, prompting a battle that one figure on the Labour left told The Times will “consume the leader for the next four years”.

Len McClusky, a close Corbyn ally and general secretary of the party’s biggest donor Unite, described Corbyn’s suspension as a “grave injustice”, warning Starmer that “a split party will be doomed to defeat” at the next general election.

Rumours of a split in the party emerged almost immediately, with Corbyn urging his supporters to stay put, The Guardian says. Corbyn told his backers to “stay in the party and argue the case for economic and social justice”, the paper adds, while John McDonnell, the ex-shadow chancellor, called for the Labour left to “stay calm”.

Corbyn has quite an “army behind him” and has “amassed a war chest of £350,000” which he could use to take legal action against the party, The Telegraph reports.

Meanwhile, Momentum, the pro-Corbyn campaign group, announced that it is to hold a “Stand with Corbyn” online rally this evening, saying “the suspension of Jeremy Corbyn by the Labour Party leadership is a naked attack on the left that undermines the fight against anti-Semitism”.

However, while members of the party have erupted in anger at the decision, a snap YouGov poll reveals support for the suspension among the general public and Labour members. A total of 58% of respondents said the suspension was justified, with only one in eight (13%) saying it was wrong.

Among Labour members, 41% backed removing the whip, while 26% said they disagreed with the move. Across Conservative and Liberal Democrat voters, there was overwhelming support for suspending the ex-leader. 

Starmer campaigned on a pledge to bring unity back into the party ranks, but the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg says this could be quite a task after Corbyn’s comments. 

“Corbyn’s forced exit once again exposes the divides in the party that Sir Keir promised to bring together,” she said. “The scars from Labour’s years of infighting are still fresh, and prone to tear.”

Recommended

Is it worth switching your gas boiler to a heat pump?
Boris Johnson
Why we’re talking about . . .

Is it worth switching your gas boiler to a heat pump?

Inside Plan B: government urged to enforce Covid-19 measures
People dancing at a nightclub
Between the lines

Inside Plan B: government urged to enforce Covid-19 measures

The most popular British royals in 2021
Royal family
In Depth

The most popular British royals in 2021

Why some PCR results were negative after a positive lateral flow test
Pupils at a school in Halifax line up for lateral flow tests
Why we’re talking about . . .

Why some PCR results were negative after a positive lateral flow test

Popular articles

The tally of Covid-19 vaccine deaths examined
Boy receiving Covid vaccine
Getting to grips with . . .

The tally of Covid-19 vaccine deaths examined

Insulate Britain: what do they want?
Insulate Britain protesters
Profile

Insulate Britain: what do they want?

What is blackfishing?
Shot of Jesy Nelson with her hair in braids
In Depth

What is blackfishing?

The Week Footer Banner