Jeremy Corbyn expelled from Labour Party after confirming he will stand as independent in general election

Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has been banished from the party after announcing he will stand as an independent candidate in Islington North in the general election.

Mr Corbyn’s announcement on Friday morning will have come as a headache for leader Sir Keir Starmer, who banned his predecessor from standing for Labour after he claimed the scale of antisemitism in the party was “dramatically overstated”.

In response, Sir Keir reaffirmed to Sky News why he blocked the 74-year-old from standing for Labour, claiming he “would tear antisemitism out of our party by the roots”.

He added: “That was my first solemn promise, and I followed through on that, and that is why I took the decision that Jeremy Corbyn would not stand as a Labour candidate at this election.

“Now what’s happened with Jeremy standing as an independent, that’s a matter for him.”

Soon after, it emerged that Mr Corbyn had been informed that his party membership had been revoked. And just hours after that, Labour selected local entrepeneur Praful Nargund to stand against him.

The contest will be one of the most closely watched on election night, with Mr Corbyn hoping his tireless local campaigning will help him hold the seat against the odds.

Mr Corbyn, who has held Islington North seat for more than 40 years, made the announcement to stand as an independent in an interview with the Islington Tribune in which he said he would be “a voice for equality, democracy and peace”.

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Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn says he want to continue representing Islington North constituents on issues such as social justice, human rights and peace (PA Wire)
Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn says he want to continue representing Islington North constituents on issues such as social justice, human rights and peace (PA Wire)

He said: “I am here to represent the people of Islington North on exactly the same principles that I’ve stood by my whole life: social justice, human rights and peace”.

He vowed to defend “a genuine alternative to the corrupt years of this Tory government”, focusing on rent controls, public ownership of energy and water and an ethical foreign policy based on peace and human rights.

Mr Corbyn, who was Labour leader from 2015 to 2020, added: “When I was first elected, I made a promise to stand by my constituents no matter what. In Islington North, we keep our promises.”

But The Jewish Labour Movement (JLM) said the party became an unsafe space for Jews under Mr Corbyn’s leadership.

“He refused to acknowledge the scale of antisemitism in Labour, even when the EHRC found the party guilty of breaking the law,” a spokesman said.

The spokesman added: “The Labour Party we see today is unrecognisable from what it had become under Corbyn, thanks to the leadership of Keir Starmer. Voters in Islington North deserve a Labour MP and Government - we'll be campaigning to make sure they get one.”

Mr Corbyn was suspended by Labour after he refused to fully accept the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s findings that the party broke equality law when he was in charge.

Labour is yet to announce its candidate for the seat, which will be contested in the general election on 4 July, announced by Rishi Sunak earlier this week. Although, the party has shortlisted Sem Moema, a member of the London Assembly, and Praful Nargund, an Islington councillor.

Sir Keir gave his reaction on both Sky News and BBC Breakfast, saying it was a matter for Mr Corbyn.

He told BBC Breakfast: “In the end, this election is about a choice, a choice of five more years of the chaos and division that we’ve seen over the last 14 years or turning the page and rebuilding our country with Labour.

“That is what’s on the ballot paper, whether it’s in Islington North or anywhere else across the country.”

At the last general election in 2019, Mr Corbyn won the seat for Labour with a share of the vote of more than 64 per cent. The Lib Dems, who have named Vikas Aggarwal as their candidate for the seat, came second.

The size of Mr Corbyn’s majority had made the seat one of the safest for Labour in the country.

Corbyn pictured after winning the Islington North seat at the 2019 general election. He has held the seat since 1983 (AP)
Corbyn pictured after winning the Islington North seat at the 2019 general election. He has held the seat since 1983 (AP)

Labour candidate Mr Nargund said: “It’s an honour to have been chosen as Labour’s candidate for Islington North and I look forward to the campaign ahead. I promise to be a truly local MP, that represents all families and businesses that call this special place their home.

“Only Labour can change the country and fix 14 years of Tory failure.

“A vote for Labour is a vote for getting Britain building again to drive growth, to switch on GB Energy to lower bills, take back our streets with 13,000 more neighbourhood police and PCSOs, make our NHS fit for the future, to break down barriers to opportunity for every child with mental health support and free breakfast clubs, and a long-term plan to rebuild Britain.”

Earlier this week, Labour MP John McDonnell said Mr Corbyn would still have “a lot of very personal support” if he stood as an independent - he also said he hoped Labour leader Sir Keir would allow him to return as a Labour candidate.

It’s also believed that discontent over Labour leader Sir Keir’s stance on the war in Gaza could boost his vote.

However, a group of more than 100 local Labour party members who oppose Mr Corbyn say they are “confident” he does not hold the support of party voters.

Under the banner Win Islington North, the organisation’s organiser Alexander Gardiner said: “This is a narcissistic, self-indulgent distraction by a man who can’t accept that his time is up. Islington is a diverse community that faces real challenges.

“It needs a dynamic, forward-thinking MP ready to bring about real change.”

This article was amended on the day of publication. It originally said that Mr Corbyn had been banned from standing for Labour after he failed to apologise for his handling of antisemitism within the party. This was inaccurate. Mr Corbyn was banned from standing after he claimed the scale of antisemitism within the party had been overstated.