Labour launches selection process to replace Jeremy Corbyn at general election

15 May 2024, 16:22 | Updated: 15 May 2024, 18:46

Labour has launched the process to select a general election candidate to replace Jeremy Corbyn in the London seat of Islington North.

The former Labour leader has had the party whip suspended since 2020 over his response to a report into antisemitism, meaning he currently sits as an independent MP.

Last year he was effectively blocked from standing for Labour after the party's ruling National Executive Committee (NEC) backed a motion to prevent him from being endorsed for the seat he has represented for more than 40 years.

The veteran MP was first elected to represent Islington North in 1983 and has won it at each of the last 10 elections, often by a comfortable margin.

Mr Corbyn, who remains a Labour member, has still not said whether he plans to run as an independent. Doing so could result in him being suspended from the party he has been part of for 50 years.

Applications to be selected to run for Labour in the seat opened on Wednesday, with candidates expected to be shortlisted next week.

The hustings will take place online, with Labour dismissing suggestions this is unusual. The result is expected to be announced on 1 June, according to reports.

Momentum, a grass-roots group set up in the wake of Mr Corbyn's leadership election victory back in 2015, hit out at the decision to bar Mr Corbyn from standing - pointing to his support among local Labour members.

Momentum chair Kate Dove said: "Jeremy Corbyn has loyally represented the people of Islington North for over 40 years and remains a Labour member of more than 50 years.

"His own local party voted unanimously to express support for Jeremy and assert their right to choose their own parliamentary candidate.

"Labour members in Islington North should decide if they want Jeremy to continue as their Labour candidate, not Keir Starmer's Westminster clique. Democracy demands it."

Mr Corbyn has not commented on the selection process opening.

He has previously called the ban on him standing a "shameful attack on party democracy" and hinted he could stand as an independent, saying: "I have spent my life fighting for a fairer society on behalf of the people of Islington North, and I have no intention of stopping now."

Mr Corbyn was suspended from the parliamentary party in October 2020 over his reaction to a report by the EHRC which was critical of the party's handling of antisemitism complaints under his leadership.

Immediately after its publication, Mr Corbyn claimed "the scale of the problem" of Labour antisemitism allegations was "dramatically overstated for political reasons by our opponents".

Sir Keir Starmer, who served in Mr Corbyn's shadow cabinet, has insisted there is no way back into the party for his predecessor, arguing that allowing him to stand at the next election would lead to Labour's chances of winning power being "significantly diminished".