Labour civil war explodes as Thornberry backs Corbyn over Starmer 'As much as anyone else'

Shadow Attorney General Emily Thornberry angered allies of Sir Keir Starmer by claiming the hard-Left veteran kicked out in the party row over anti-semitism deserved a role in Labour’s “broad church.” Her remarks come just as party leader Sir Keir has been attempting to distance Labour from Mr Corbyn’s anti-Nato rhetoric.

The former leader, who quit after Labour was hammered in the 2019 general election, has been an independent MP for more than a year following disciplinary action.

At an online meeting last Monday, Ms Thornberry was asked if “notwithstanding the things he’s said in the past” Mr Corbyn should be readmitted.

She said the former leader should apologise and could not demand to come back.

But she added: “I wish there could be a compromise that is found and I think as a former leader it would be good if Jeremy was back in the party.

“We’re a broad church and Jeremy has a role to play in that coalition as much as anyone else does.”

Mr Corbyn has faced criticism in recent days for refusing to take his name off a Stop the War Coalition letter about Ukraine which criticised Nato’s “eastward expansion.”

A spokesman for Ms Thornberry said: “Emily made clear she profoundly disagreed with him about Nato when he was party leader and profoundly disagrees with him now.”

An unnamed shadow cabinet colleague was yesterday quoted by a newspaper as saying: “We’ve got to signal to voters who abandoned us that we’ve changed over key issues such as defence of the realm. To signal change, it’s important Corbyn doesn’t come back.”

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