Former opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn has said it is “disappointing” that Labour’s ruling body voted down an attempt to restore him as a party MP.

Left-wing members of Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC) engineered a motion to have the parliamentary whip reinstated to the former party leader, but they confirmed it was voted down.

Mr Corbyn, who has been sitting as an independent MP since October 2020, thanked his supporters as he reacted to the result.

“Today’s NEC vote and Keir Starmer’s ongoing decision to bar me from sitting as a Labour MP is disappointing,” he tweeted.

“I am grateful for and humbled by the support I’ve received, especially from my Islington North constituents.

“The struggle for peace, justice and sustainability goes on.”

The veteran politician was suspended from Labour in the wake of his response to a report from a human rights watchdog that found the party broke equality laws in relation to its handling of antisemitism complaints.

A damning report by the Equality and Human Rights Commission found the party was responsible for unlawful acts of harassment and discrimination.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer opted to strip his predecessor, Jeremy Corbyn, of the party whip
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer opted to strip his predecessor, Jeremy Corbyn, of the party whip (Jonathan Brady/PA)

While Mr Corbyn’s suspension was later lifted, his successor, Sir Keir Starmer, ordered that the party whip be withheld from him, effectively suspending him as a Labour MP.

Tuesday’s NEC motion was proposed by Ian Murray from the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) and Nadia Jama – both seen to be on the left of the party politically.

In a statement posted on social media, Ms Jama and Mr Murray, along with a number of other signatories, said the decision to remove the whip had been “incredibly divisive” as they criticised the “failed” bid to reinstate Mr Corbyn.

They wrote: “Today’s motion was a chance for members of the NEC to do the right thing, to restore the whip to Jeremy Corbyn, to back the democratic decision of its own NEC panel and to respect the democratic will of local Labour Party members in Jeremy’s constituency, Islington North, where he has been a popular Labour MP since 1983.

“Sadly, the other members of the NEC, Labour’s ruling body, failed to grasp this opportunity to heal some of the self-inflicted wounds of the last two years and put us on a course which can only lead to further division and disunity, voting against our motion, with the result that it fell.”

But Sir Keir said matters relating to the parliamentary whip were not a consideration for the NEC.

The Labour leader told broadcasters: “This is well rehearsed as to why Jeremy Corbyn doesn’t have the Labour whip.

“It is not a matter for the NEC, it is a matter for the chief whip and there is nothing much more I can say about that.”

Mr Corbyn was the shock winner of the 2015 Labour leadership contest, a result that helped swell the party’s membership, enticed by the left-wing stalwart’s style and subsequent policies, such as arguing for public ownership of key services.

Under his leadership, the party saw gains at the snap 2017 general election, a result that prevented Theresa May from securing a Conservative majority.

However, at the poll in 2019, he led Labour to its worst election result since 1935 as Boris Johnson won a landslide.