Former UK Labour leader Corbyn launches new ‘Peace and Justice’ movement

Opposition head, who was ousted from parliamentary membership in anti-Semitism row, says project will aim to boost human rights in the UK and around the world

Britain's former opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn leaves his home in London, November 18, 2020. (Aaron Chown/PA via AP)
Britain's former opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn leaves his home in London, November 18, 2020. (Aaron Chown/PA via AP)

The former leader of Britain’s main opposition Labour party announced Sunday that he is launching a new human rights organization to boost social justice and peace in Britain and around the world.

“The aim of the Peace and Justice Project will be to bring people together, for social justice, peace and human rights, in Britain and across the world,” Jeremy Corbyn said in a video posted to his Twitter feed.

“It’s there to create space, hope and opportunity for those campaigning for social justice and a future that works for the many, not the few,” he said.

Corbyn sits in the House of Commons as an independent MP after he was ousted from Labour’s parliamentary membership following the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s report into anti-Semitism in the party, and his response to the report, although he is challenging his removal.

“We will work with unions and social movements to build a network of campaigners, grassroots activists, thinkers and leaders, to share experiences and generate ideas about solutions to our common problems,” Corbyn said.

“This year, many of us have felt powerless in the face of forces beyond our control. It doesn’t have to be like that,” he said. “Things can, and they will, change.”

The Peace and Justice Project will kick of with an online event on January 17 that will include Labour peer Christine Blower, Unite union general secretary Len McCluskey and Labour MP Zarah Sultana.

In September, a report by the UK’s Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) found Labour under Corbyn had broken the law in its “inexcusable” handling of anti-Semitism complaints.

The watchdog group’s investigation found that Labour under Corbyn was “responsible for unlawful acts of harassment and discrimination.” It specified two instances, relating to former London mayor Ken Livingstone and a local councillor, in which Labour breached the Equality Act “by committing unlawful harassment” against Jewish people.

Britain’s Labour leader Keir Starmer delivers his keynote speech, during the party’s online conference from the Danum Gallery, Library and Museum in Doncaster, England, September 22, 2020. (Stefan Rousseau/Pool Photo via AP)

But in defiance of the party’s new leadership under Keir Starmer, Corbyn refused to accept all its findings and questioned the motives of the two-year independent probe.

He insisted the scale of the problem had been “dramatically overstated for political reasons by our opponents inside and outside the party, as well as by much of the media.”

That prompted his immediate suspension pending an internal investigation, and the “whip” was withdrawn, meaning he could not sit with other Labour MPs in the House of Commons.

In an unusually rapid process, his party membership was restored by a party disciplinary panel following a more conciliatory statement from the former leader.

Starmer, who was elected leader in April, nevertheless refused to allow Corbyn to come back to the parliamentary party after vowing to root out anti-Semitism in Labour that saw Jewish members and lawmakers leave in droves.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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