Labor fears Corbyn will humiliate Keir Starmer by taking on Sadiq Khan in London’s mayoral election as a left-leaning independent in 2024
- Corbyn has been urged by his supporters to emulate Ken Livingstone and challenge Labor
- Mr Livingstone stood as an independent candidate for mayor in 2000
- The former Labor leader is currently forced to sit as an independent MP
- A Corbyn ally said last night he could defeat current Labor mayor Sadiq Khan
Jeremy Corbyn is under increasing pressure to humiliate Sir Keir Starmer by standing as a leftist independent candidate in London’s upcoming mayoral election.
The ex-leader is being urged by his supporters to emulate Ken Livingstone and challenge Labor by taking on the party’s official candidate for the coveted post in 2024.
Mr Livingstone ran as an independent mayoral candidate in 2000 – after failing to win the Labor nomination – and won.
A key Corbyn ally said last night the former Labor leader, currently forced to sit as an independent MP, was so popular he could emulate Mr Livingstone’s success in 2000 and defeat current Labor mayor Sadiq Khan.
The ally said: “Jeremy would win and a lot of people around him are urging him to.”
Jeremy Corbyn is being urged by his supporters to emulate Ken Livingstone and challenge Labor by standing as a leftist independent candidate in London’s upcoming mayoral election. The move would put him back in place as incumbent leader Sir Keir Starmer
Mr Livingstone stood as an independent candidate for mayor in 2000 – after failing to win the Labor nomination – and won
Yesterday Mr Livingstone – who returned to the Labor fold after his time as London mayor but resigned his membership in 2018 over allegations of anti-Semitism – said Mr Corbyn would be ‘damn good’ as leader of the capital. He told the Mail on Sunday: ‘I will support Jeremy whatever he does. He is a man of absolute integrity.
However, Mr Livingstone, who has denied allegations of anti-Semitism against him, has also backed the former Labor leader to retain his Islington North Commons seat as an independent.
Although he has represented the seat since 1983, Mr Corbyn is currently barred from standing again as a Labor candidate after claiming two years ago that anti-Semitism in the party under his leadership was exaggerated. He no longer has the Labor Whip at Westminster.
Mr Livingstone said: “I’m sure he will win if he stands as an independent. Jeremy has been around for almost 40 years – he’s incredibly popular.
However, Sir Keir’s allies have reacted furiously to any talk of Mr Corbyn mounting a bid to become mayor of London, warning he could split the Labor vote and let a Tory win the contest in 2024.
Last night Mr Corbyn indicated his priority was to stand again as the Labor Party candidate in his current seat in the House of Commons where he won with a majority of more than 26,000 at the last general election. He said: ‘I am proud to be the MP for Islington North.
A key Corbyn ally said last night the former Labor leader was so popular he could defeat current Labor mayor Sadiq Khan
‘The whip was removed by mistake, and it should be restored. The same applies to the rights of members of the Labor Party to choose who represents them in Parliament.
The row erupted after shadow Health Secretary Wes Streeting was caught saying Mr Corbyn, 73, had ‘gone senile’ after the former leader tried to raise a point of order after Prime Minister’s Questions last week. Mr. Streeting later apologised.
But this newspaper understands that Sir Keir’s leadership team wants to kick his predecessor, who is still a Labor grassroots member, out of the party. The move will be seen as a way to counter Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s tactic of reminding voters that Sir Keir campaigned for Mr Corbyn to be Prime Minister in 2019 and served on his front bench.
Some Labor insiders fear the tactic could deter voters from the crucial Red Wall seats the party needs to win back the Tories.