Jeremy Corbyn accuses Keir Starmer of 'primary school stuff' after Labour leader says he's 'not my friend'

17 April 2023, 20:57 | Updated: 17 April 2023, 21:13

Jeremy Corbyn hit back at Sir Keir Starmer over his "friendship" comments
Jeremy Corbyn hit back at Sir Keir Starmer over his "friendship" comments. Picture: Alamy/LBC

By Will Taylor

Jeremy Corbyn has accused Sir Keir Starmer of "primary school stuff" after the Labour leader insisted they were not friends.

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Mr Corbyn, who led Labour when Sir Keir was shadow Brexit secretary, told LBC's Iain Dale that he only saw his successor as a colleague.

Sir Keir had told LBC he did not view Mr Corbyn as a friend, as he continues to distance himself from Mr Corbyn – having already suspended him from Labour and refused to allow him to stand for his Islington North seat for the party.

Read more: 'I wanted him to stand down in 2016': Jeremy Corbyn was 'not a friend' say's Sir Keir Starmer

Mr Corbyn, who now sits as an independent MP, said: "I don’t know why he says that. I worked with Starmer, he was in the shadow cabinet, went to Brussels with him. I worked with lots of people."

He told Cross Question on Monday evening: "I regard him as a colleague, I never regarded him as a friend. I didn't spend time hanging out with him. A friend is somebody you go out for a meal with, have a chat…

"So why he has suddenly announced to the world I was a friend, and then a short time later announced I was not a friend, well this is primary school stuff."

'This is primary school stuff': Jeremy Corbyn reacts to Keir Starmer saying he was 'never a friend'

Sir Keir Starmer on Jeremy Corbyn

Previously, Sir Keir told Nick Ferrari at Breakfast on LBC: "I haven’t spoken to him in two and a half years."

Sir Keir said his position on Mr Corbyn being barred from standing as a Labour candidate was "very clear".

Mr Corbyn was suspended after his reaction to the Equalities and Human Rights Commission's report on anti-semitism in Labour during his time as leader.

It accused his leadership of serious failings.

But when he replied to the report, he described the "problem" as being "dramatically overstated for political reasons by our opponents inside and outside the party", and partly pinned the blame on the media too.

He said "one anti-semite is one too many".

But his reaction led to his suspension and eventual ban from standing as a Labour candidate at the next election.