Corbyn suspended: Keir Starmer says former Labour leader is not antisemitic and denies 1980s-style ‘Militant purge’

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Corbyn suspended: Keir Starmer says former Labour leader is not antisemitic and denies 1980s-style ‘Militant purge’

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Asked if there was a way back for Mr Corbyn, he said: “It’s not my process it’s the party’s process – and what I mustn’t do is express a view on what should happen in the case.”

And, asked if, like Luciana Berger the former Labour MP hounded out of the party, he considered him “antisemitic”, Sir Keir replied: “I don’t see Jeremy Corbyn in that light.”

He also played down fears of a Labour split, insisting: “I don’t think it is necessary and I don’t think it will happen.”

The leader faced a torrent of questions after Labour was plunged into turmoil by Mr Corbyn’s suspension for claiming antisemitism under his leadership was “dramatically overstated for political reasons”.

The party believed it had to act after all Sir Keir had said anyone who claimed discrimination against Jewish people was “exaggerated or factional are part of the problem”.

But the grassroots leftwing group Momentum condemned “a naked attack on the left that undermines the fight against antisemitism and makes a mockery of Keir Starmer’s pledge to unite the party”.

And Len McCluskey, whose Unite union gives millions to the party each year, predicted “chaos” which would “compromise Labour’s chances of a general election victory. A split party will be doomed to defeat”.

Asked if he was carrying out a 1980s-style “Militant purge”, Sir Keir said: “I am not purging anybody or any group within the Labour party” – while insisting he would “not tolerate antisemitism full stop”.

He revealed he had told Mr Corbyn, on Wednesday evening, that he would warn that anyone denying the antisemitism problem would have no place in Labour – but Mr Corbyn rejected the report regardless. 

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