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SEEING RED

For a moment, the Starmer age felt like it would be one of post-Corbyn calm — but soon the seemingly daily stories of infighting and chaos arrived. Susannah Butter finds out what’s fuelling the Labour Party civil war

Illustrations by Michelle Thompson

After giving a forceful speech about workers’ rights last Tuesday, methodically listing all the ways in which they have suffered during the pandemic, Unite union member Howard Beckett pressed the ‘leave meeting’ button and abruptly disappeared from the Labour National Executive Committtee’s away-day Zoom call.

Some people wondered if it was a technical hitch, but he was followed by 12 other Labour Party members in a protest ‘about how factional the decisions of the current Labour leader have become’, as they wrote to the party’s general secretary.

The catalyst for their walkout was the election of moderate MP Margaret Beckett as chair of the committee. She has said she was a ‘moron’ for voting for Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader. Her appointment was seen as a provocation by those on the left campaigning against Sir Keir Starmer’s suspension of Corbyn from the party after the report from the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s investigation into anti-Semitism.

"I haven’t seen this many factions in my 30 years as a member. They’re more interested in fighting each other than clobbering the Tories"

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"the new generation of left MPs present a future much more in line with green policies and LGBTQ issues"

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“Starmer still has
to prove himself. The bar is set low but having a go will only get you so far”

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