I am deeply saddened at the events following the publication of the report by the Equality and Human Rights Commission. I voted for Corbyn in both leadership elections and was inspired by his vision for radical change and a truly fairer society. Corbyn has campaigned against inequality and racism throughout his political career. I do not believe he is anti-semitic. However, the EHRC report highlighted significant failings and unlawful activity while he was leader of the Labour Party and it is ultimately the leader who bears responsibility for those failings.
The report into anti-semitism within the Labour Party was damning. Corbyn would surely have known that his comments about the issue being exaggerated, despite the report setting out in great detail how extensive the problems were and are, would be problematic. I believe the Labour Party were left with little choice other than to suspend him. I suspect that Corbyn must have known this and the damage it would cause to the party.
However, once Corbyn had his suspension from the Party removed, by what I understand was a unanimous decision by the NEC panel, it seems equally as petulant to keep the whip withdrawn from him. This halfway house appears weak and further increases division within the Party, at a time when a united opposition is more important than ever. I voted for Starmer and will continue to support his leadership. However, this approach can’t continue and the issue must be decided as quickly as possible, one way or the other. Otherwise, we risk undoing the significant progress we have already made in regaining the confidence and trust of the public.
Across the breadth of the Labour movement, there is much more that unites us than divides us. I would strongly urge members to stay within the party, find common ground and work together to remove the current government, who present such a grave threat to our democracy and the values of equality and fairness we all hold so dear.
21st November 2020
You can read more about my views on the need for unity within the party here: https://julianvaughan.blog/2020/07/05/divided-we-fall/