Steerpike

Does losing the Labour whip really matter to Corbyn?

Does losing the Labour whip really matter to Corbyn?
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Jeremy Corbyn's fan club has reacted with predictable outrage to the decision not to hand him back the party whip. Starmer's refusal to do so was not 'the right thing to do,' said Labour MP Clive Lewis. 'At a time of national crisis, division in the Labour party serves nobody but the Tory Government,' said Richard Burgon. But Mr S wonders whether Corbyn will really be that bothered by the decision?

During Labour's last stint in power, Corbyn voted against the whip 428 times. And if you go further back, to when Corbyn first became an MP in 1983, he has voted against the whip 617 times during his time in Parliament. Under Tony Blair, perhaps unsurprisingly, Corbyn was among the biggest backbench troublemakers when it came to voting the other way to his parliamentary colleagues.

Given that Corbyn has been happily ignoring the whip for 37 years, is it really worth his supporters getting worked up about Starmer's decision today?

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.

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Topics in this articlePoliticsjeremy corbynlabour