Diane Abbott and anti-NATO Labour MPs put on notice by Starmer for attacks on West

A number of left-wing MPs in Labour have sparked outrage in recent weeks by blaming NATO expansionism for President Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. Parroting lines from the Kremlin, they claimed the West’s actions had provoked Russia’s aggression towards its Eastern European neighbour.

But last night, in a behind-closed-doors meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party, Sir Keir issued a direct threat to those making excuses for Moscow’s attacks.

He warned there was “no room” in the party for anyone who blamed NATO for Putin’s war as he vowed to kick out Labour members advocating the position.

As well as Ms Abbott, former shadow chancellor John McDonnell and ex-frontbencher Richard Burgon were among the 11 Labour MPs criticising NATO.

Vocal in their criticism, they joined Jeremy Corbyn’s Stop the War Coalition in calling for negotiation between Moscow and Kyiv.


Labour MPs in the Stop the War Coalition last week signed a letter criticising NATO and the UK Government of “inflaming tensions and indicating disdain for Russian concerns”.

Their names were swiftly removed from the bottom of the letter on the Stop the War website after the Labour leadership threatened to remove the party whip if they did not back down on their position.

Any MP that loses the whip are unable to stand under the party banner at the next general election.

Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn – who has already lost the whip for remarks he made following an inquiry in Labour anti-Semitism – kept his name on the Stop the War letter.

Sir Keir has taken a hardline approach on support for NATO as he seeks to convince voters that Labour had changed since he took over as leader.

Mr Corbyn sparked outrage among the public when he was in charge for his approach to dealing with Putin.

In 2018 he refused to blame Moscow for the novichok poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury, saying there was not enough evidence to hold the Kremlin responsible.

In the lead up to the 2019 general election he also refused to clarify if he personally supported Britain retaining its nuclear deterrent.

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