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Jeremy Corbyn to run as independent candidate in UK general election

Move prompts Labour Party to expel former leader, who was barred from standing as their candidate
Jeremy Corbyn addresses demonstrators at a protest near the gates of 10 Downing Street on 8 May during an anti-racism rally (Benjamin Cremel/AFP)
Jeremy Corbyn addresses demonstrators at a protest near the gates of 10 Downing Street on 8 May during an anti-racism rally (Benjamin Cremel/AFP)

Former Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn has announced his independent candidacy for parliament in the 4 July UK general election, after he was barred from standing for the party.

The move on Friday prompted the Labour Party to expel Corbyn. Labour had already removed the whip, meaning Corbyn had sat as an independent MP in parliament.

Writing in his local newspaper, the Islington Tribune, Corbyn explained his reasoning for seeking to stand as an independent in London's Islington North, the constituency he has represented since 1983.

"Local Labour Party members in Islington North have been prevented from choosing their own candidate, which has disempowered everyone in the community," he wrote.

"I am appalled at the way local people have been treated. We have to stand up and defend our rights. That is why I am standing to be an independent candidate for the people of Islington North."

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Prime Minister Rishi Sunak called a surprise general election on Wednesday, set to take place on 4 July. The Labour Party is far ahead in the polls and expected to win.

Corbyn, who led Labour between 2015 and 2019, was initially expelled from the party and had the whip withdrawn in April 2020, under the leadership of his erstwhile ally Keir Starmer.

The expulsion came after Corbyn said that claims of antisemitism during his time as a leader had been "overstated" for political reasons, in response to an investigation into his handling of the issue.

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Though he was readmitted to the party as a member in November 2020, it refused to let him continue as a Labour MP.

On 28 March, Labour's National Executive voted by 22 to 12 to prevent him from standing as a candidate in the next election, with no right of appeal. 

The motion to suspend him stated that it was "not in the best interests" of the party to endorse him, and his ability to stand would "significantly diminish" its chances in the next election. 

Corbyn has fiercely criticised his treatment by the party, of which he was a member for decades.

"I joined the Labour Party when I was 16 years old," he wrote on Friday. "I hope people who have always supported Labour will understand why I have taken this decision, and that I am here to represent the people of Islington North on exactly the same principles that I’ve stood by my whole life: social justice, human rights and peace. 

"These principles are needed now more than ever before."

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