Keir Starmer explains decision to suspend Jeremy Corbyn from Labour

30 October 2020, 09:58 | Updated: 30 October 2020, 10:01

By Fiona Jones

Sir Keir Starmer explained to LBC why he took the decision to suspend former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn from the party.

Jeremy Corbyn was suspended from Labour on Thursday after his response to an investigation into anti-Semitism which found the party to have committed unlawful acts of discrimination against Jewish people.

The EHRC investigation found evidence of "political interference" by then leader Mr Corbyn's office in the complaints process.

Following the publishing of the damning report, the former leader claimed that Labour's anti-Semitism problem was "dramatically overstated for political reasons" - and Sir Keir Starmer confirmed it was these comments and the "failure to retract them" that led to his suspension.

Speaking to LBC's Nick Ferrari, Sir Keir outlined his desired response to the report, yet that "didn't go to plan" due to Jeremy Corbyn's statement.

Mr Starmer said: "I was very clear in my response to the report that the Labour Party I lead will not tolerate anti-Semitism, nor will it tolerate the argument that there isn't really any anti-Semitism, it's all exaggerated or factional, because that's part of the problem.

"On top of the grief that's already been caused, to respond to the report by saying 'oh well it's exaggerated, it's just factional stuff' adds to that grief and I made that very clear in my response.

"I had spoken to Jeremy Corbyn the night before the report and there'd been further conversations yesterday morning, so Jeremy's team knew very well where I was going with this - no anti-Semitism, no denial or minimising which is part of the problem, therefore when I saw his response I was really disappointed in that response to these very serious findings by an independent body."

Amid reported fears that Corbyn supporters may react to this move, the Labour leader denied a schism in the party and said there is "no need for a civil war" following the suspension.