Britain’s main opposition Labour party reinstated former leader Jeremy Corbyn on Tuesday, just weeks after he was suspended over his response to a damning watchdog report about anti-Semitism within the party.
The disputes panel of Labour’s ruling National Executive Committee met on Tuesday and decided the veteran leftist could be readmitted, numerous UK media outlets reported.
Corbyn said on Twitter he was “pleased” with the outcome.
“Our movement must now come together to oppose and defeat this deeply damaging Conservative government,” he added.
However, Labour leader Keir Starmer said on Twitter it had been “another painful day for the Jewish community and those Labour members who have fought so hard to tackle antisemitism”.
“I will not allow a focus on one individual to prevent us from doing the vital work of tackling antisemitism,” he added.
Corbyn’s reinstatement came hours after the ex-Labour leader acknowledged that concerns around anti-Semitism within the party were not “exaggerated” as he had claimed last month.
He made the much-criticised assertion following the October 29 release of a report by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) which found the party had broken the law in its “inexcusable” handling of anti-Semitism complaints.
In defiance of the party’s new leadership under Starmer, Corbyn refused to accept all its findings and questioned the motives of the two-year independent probe.
He insisted the scale of the problem had been “dramatically overstated for political reasons by our opponents inside and outside the party, as well as by much of the media”.
The comments prompted his immediate suspension, pending an internal investigation.
News of his reinstatement prompted fresh fury within the party, as numerous Labour lawmakers decried the decision on social media.
“This is a broken outcome from a broken system,” veteran Labour MP Margaret Hodge said on Twitter.
“A factional, opaque and dysfunctional complaints process could never reach a fair conclusion.
“This is exactly why the EHRC instructed Labour to set up an independent process!”
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Meanwhile the Jewish Labour Movement said Corbyn’s case appeared to have been “expedited” by a “factionally aligned political committee”.
“After his failure of leadership to tackle anti-Semitism, so clearly set out in the EHRC’s report, any reasonable and fair-minded observer would see Jeremy Corbyn’s statement today as insincere and wholly inadequate,” it added.
The EHRC found damning instances where Corbyn’s leadership team underplayed, belittled or ignored complaints by Jewish members, and sometimes actively interfered to support favoured allies.
That followed a deluge of anti-Semitic abuse online and in party meetings after he became leader in 2015.
The report prompted fresh infighting within Labour between Corbyn loyalists and those eager to move away from the controversies of his tumultuous five-year tenure.
In one of his first acts after replacing Corbyn in April, Starmer apologised to Britain’s Jewish community, and last month vowed to accept the entirety of the findings from the EHRC’s two-year investigation.
On Tuesday, he reiterated the commitment.
“That must mean establishing an independent complaints process as soon as possible in the New Year,” Starmer said.