The annual conference is being billed as a chance for Starmer to relaunch his leadership again! Unfortunately for Starmer, Corbyn will take the limelight.
A Labour Party Spokesperson confirms ex-leader will be free to address fringe events, despite status as independent MP he is still a Labour member.
Jeremy Corbyn will be granted a pass to Labour’s conference in Brighton later this month and will be free to address fringe meetings despite currently sitting as an independent MP, a party spokesperson has said.
The former leader, who had the whip suspended by Sir Keir Starmer last year, has applied for a conference pass and accepted invitations to speak at several events.
Amid a growing row about whether Corbyn should be allowed to attend, a spokesperson said: “He’s definitely not barred: of course he will be getting a conference pass.”
Corbyn had his membership of Labour restored last November by the party’s ruling national executive committee (NEC), but Starmer has declined to restore the whip, meaning Corbyn now sits as an independent.
Starmer told the Guardian last month that in order to be welcomed back into the fold, Corbyn would have to apologise for, and take down, comments made in the aftermath of the publication of the damning Equality and Human Rights Commission report on Labour’s handling of antisemitism complaints.
For many Corbyn has nothing to apologise for and his statement is one of truth and does not offer insult to injury.
In a statement that remains online, Corbyn claimed the scale of antisemitism in Labour was “dramatically overstated for political reasons by our opponents inside and outside the party”. The full statement reads…
My statement following the publication of the EHRC report:
“Antisemitism is absolutely abhorrent, wrong and responsible for some of humanity’s greatest crimes. As Leader of the Labour Party I was always determined to eliminate all forms of racism and root out the cancer of antisemitism. I have campaigned in support of Jewish people and communities my entire life and I will continue to do so.
“The EHRC’s report shows that when I became Labour leader in 2015, the Party’s processes for handling complaints were not fit for purpose. Reform was then stalled by an obstructive party bureaucracy. But from 2018, Jennie Formby and a new NEC that supported my leadership made substantial improvements, making it much easier and swifter to remove antisemites. My team acted to speed up, not hinder the process.
“Anyone claiming there is no antisemitism in the Labour Party is wrong. Of course, there is, as there is throughout society, and sometimes it is voiced by people who think of themselves as on the left.
“Jewish members of our party and the wider community were right to expect us to deal with it, and I regret that it took longer to deliver that change than it should.
“One antisemite is one too many, but the scale of the problem was also dramatically overstated for political reasons by our opponents inside and outside the party, as well as by much of the media. That combination hurt Jewish people and must never be repeated.
“My sincere hope is that relations with Jewish communities can be rebuilt and those fears overcome. While I do not accept all of its findings, I trust its recommendations will be swiftly implemented to help move on from this period.”
The civil war rages.
Starmer’s team hoped the first in-person conference since he was elected leader would be a showcase for Labour’s values and policies. But not only has a row already erupted about Young Labour day, which was meant to form part of the usual conference schedule but Labours own staffers are threatening to carry out industrial action and picket conference.
Starmer’s team had faced a mounting backlash after the chair of Young Labour, Jess Barnard, complained she had been told Corbyn would not be allowed to speak at the group’s conference event.
Jess Barnard Chair of Young Labour has complained that Young Labour has not been given the support from the party’s general secretary, David Evans, that it needed to hold an event, and was told it would not be allowed to have Corbyn as a speaker.
It seems David Evens put paid to that and scuppered Young Labour’s conference plans. Jess Barnard warned that it is set to miss out on its traditional day at party conference this year as it accused Sir Keir Starmer’s leadership team of stonewalling the group.
But they confirmed Corbyn would be allowed to speak at fringe meetings in the conference centre, which do not form part of Labour’s formal programme or take place on the main conference stage.
This is a disappointing and difficult thread to post, so buckle up!— Jess Barnard (@JessicaLBarnard) August 31, 2021
A few months ago, myself and @lara_eleanor met with David Evans once we were told the party would not be holding a young labour conference this year, despite it being a rulebook requirement.
YL chairwoman Jess Barnard said Labour told the group that there is no capacity for due diligence checks on possible event speakers until September 20, just five days before the start of conference, potentially ruling out the YL day.
An annual YL meeting — which sees party members aged between 14 and 26 get together — is a requirement of Labour’s rulebook.
In a series of tweets, Ms Barnard also claimed that the party had said anyone from the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), as well as former party leader Jeremy Corbyn, will be refused as speakers.
After being told that there would be no YL conference earlier this year, Ms Barnard said she held negotiations with party chairman David Evans, in which he allegedly committed to more YL resources at conference to make up for it.
She said that proposals for a potential YL day were submitted months ago “well within the deadline given,” but no response was forthcoming.
YL has also had no contact from Sir Keir’s office since his election as leader last year, Ms Barnard said, tweeting: “No acknowledgement we exist, no reply to emails, nothing.
“[YL] committee members will now be working around the clock to pull together events with or without the help of the leadership.
“Young members have bought tickets, paid for travel and accommodation to be here. [We] will make sure any young member will not be let down. In solidarity!”
A Labour spokesperson claimed that YL will have a conference day, and that speakers would be announced in due course.
A PSC spokesperson said: “PSC is definitively not banned from the Labour Party conference. We have a stall and a fringe meeting as in previous years.
“We are seeking urgent clarification from the Labour leadership as to why [YL] were given the message that they were given and we will comment further once these conversations have taken place.”
Conference season comes with a diffrence with Labour staff voting for strike action against Starmer’s compulsory redundancies
To add to Labour’s growing crisis Labour Party staffers, its own workers, have voted to carry out strike action if Starmer enforces compulsory redundancies. This would include picketing conference, which would of course create a dilemma between those who would cross a picket line and those that would not.
Some have suggested those that would cross a picket line represent the Blairites and Stramerites leaving Left wingers out in the cold when it comes to voting.
Members of two unions representing Labour staff ‘GMB’ and ‘Unite’ announced on Tuesday that a majority of those consulted in an indicative ballot said they would support strike action if the party tries to impose compulsory redundancies.