Keir Starmer throws challenge to hard-left Labour MPs

Keir Starmer insists Brexit agreement with EU is a ‘bad deal’

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Sir Keir Starmer challenged hard-left Labour MPs who don’t support his plans for the Government to either back him or leave the party. On Wednesday morning, Labour is set to be taken out of special measures over antisemitism by the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

The development comes more than two years after a report identified “serious failings” under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.

Writing for The Times, the Labour leader said the changes he has made to the party are “permanent, fundamental, irrevocable”.

He further described the party as unrecognisable from the one he took over in 2019.

He wrote for the publication: “There are those who don’t like that change, who still refuse to see the reality of what had gone on under the previous leadership.

“To them I say in all candour: we are never going back. If you don’t like it, nobody is forcing you to stay.”

Sir Keir served as shadow Brexit secretary when Mr Corbyn was Labour leader.

But since taking over the party leadership, Sir Keir has sought to distance himself from his predecessor.

Mr Corbyn currently sits as an independent MP after having the Labour whip removed in 2020 over his response to the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) report into antisemitism in the party.

The commission’s investigation, which ended in October 2020, found that Labour had breached equalities legislation in areas including the “unlawful harassment” of Jewish members, political interference in the handling of complaints and a lack of adequate training.

The investigation found 23 instances in which Corbyn’s office or other Labour Party staff had interfered directly with complaints and said there was a culture that “at best did not do enough to prevent antisemitism and at worst could be seen to accept it”.

Mr Corbyn was suspended from the party soon after the report was published raising concerns about antisemitism within Labour that had been “dramatically overstated”.

Sir Keir Starmer has made clear that his predecessor as a leader will not be a candidate at the next general election.

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Mr Corbyn’s eventual expulsion will be a critical point for Starmer’s relationship with the party’s left wing.

Thirty-one Labour MPs are members of the Socialist Campaign Group, but five have been enticed on to the front bench.

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