Labour Denies Claims It Is Offering Peerages To Left-Wing MPs Who Promise To Step Down

Labour leader Keir Starmer has been accused of a left-wing purge of the party.
Labour leader Keir Starmer has been accused of a left-wing purge of the party. Stefan Rousseau - PA Images via Getty Images

Labour’s Yvette Cooper has denied claims the party is offering peerages to left-wing MPs who step down to make way for Keir Starmer’s preferred candidates.

The shadow home secretary rejected a new report from The Times which claims some people who were Labour MPs–  up until parliament was dissolved last week – could be elevated to the House of Lords if they gave up their seats.

She told Sky News’ Sunday Morning with Trevor Phillips: “No party can do that, it’s not the way the system works.”

She said there is a “whole process” where an independent committee vets nominations to the Lords, so no one cannot be promised a seat there by any party leader.

The report comes after a tumultuous week for the frontrunners in the general election as Labour has faced several accusations of trying to purge any left-wing candidates.

Former leader Jeremy Corbyn, Faiza Shaheen and Lloyd Russell-Moyle were all prevented from standing for Labour in recent weeks. 

Starmer faced further backlash after refusing to say whether veteran MP Diane Abbott would be allowed to stand as a Labour candidate – prompting her and her supporters to accuse him of “culling” the Labour left over the last week.

Abbott lost the whip in 2023 after claiming Irish, Traveller and Jewish people only experienced “prejudice” not racism – a claim she later apologised for and withdrew.

The whip was returned to her in May but there was widespread speculation the party was planning to ban her from standing.

Starmer denied all claims of a purge, saying he just wants”the highest quality candidates”.

He also said that the decision around Abbott was up to the party’s national executive committee, and not him.

Then even Starmer’s deputy Angela Rayner said publicly that Abbott should be allowed to stand.

In an embarrassing U-turn, he finally said on Friday that the left-winger was free to represent his party.

Abbott is yet to confirm whether she will represent the party and said she will not be making a comment until she is officially endorsed by Labour’s National Executive Committee next week.

However she told Sky News that the “narrative does look positive”.

Cooper also told Phillips on Sunday that she assumes Abbott will be the Labour candidate for Hackney North and Stoke Newington, the seat she has held since 1987.