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Steerpike

Corbyn cleared by sleaze watchdog

Corbyn cleared by sleaze watchdog
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Two years ago life seemed so sweet for Jeremy Corbyn. The magic Grandpa was the leader of a Labour party that was just three points behind in the polls, heading into a snap election which his devoted cheerleaders thought would sweep him into power. 

Now though, all that has changed. Stripped of his party whip, embarrassed by his brother Piers, facing loss in his Islington safe seat and eclipsed in the affections of his party's left-wing, Jezza must be wondering if it was all worth it.

Still, Mr S can bring news of one ray of light for the septuagenarian socialist. Corbyn was cleared yesterday by Parliament’s sleaze watchdog following allegations he did not properly declare financial support given to him for legal disputes involving anti-Semitism. 

It comes after longtime Corbyn enemy, serial late-night texter and Labour MP Neil Coyle reported his former leader to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards in May for the aid he has received from Unite – the trade union headed by long-time Corbyn ally Len McCluskey. 

But now an investigation has concluded that the support Corbyn received in his lawsuit against Labour General Secretary David Evans was because of his membership of Unite – not his membership of the House of Commons. 

As this support is available to all members of the Unite and MPs do not have to register legal support provided by a membership organisation, the Commissioner concluded that it was not necessary for Corbyn to register this support.

Corbyn also confirmed that he had not received legal assistance or support from Unite for any other legal cases. This of course leaves Jezza unencumbered and free to resume battle with Starmer's top man David Evans – an appointment rejected by 41 per cent of attendees at last week's Labour conference.

The news will also no doubt provide great relief to Corbyn's lawyers, the Brentford-based solicitors Howe & Co. The firm has previously represented activists such as Jackie Walker, as she (unsuccessfully) attempted to challenge her expulsion from Labour over antisemitism, and acted for Unite in the (disastrous) libel case against Anna Turley MP – a case which could have been settled for less than £10,000 in 2017 but is now set to cost between £1.5 to £2 million after ending up in the High Court.

At least that's one group of people who will still be singing 'Oooh Jeremy Corbyn.'

Written bySteerpike

Steerpike is The Spectator's gossip columnist, serving up the latest tittle tattle from Westminster and beyond. Email tips to steerpike@spectator.co.uk or message @MrSteerpike

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