‘What a downgrade!’ Corbyn row explodes in France after party backs ‘intolerable’ MP

Laura Kuenssberg reveals consequences of ‘Corbyn era’

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Left-wing politicians and antisemitism campaigners called the trip a “shame” that “the left can’t accept”. Bernard Cazeneuve, a former Prime Minister of France, said it would “never be tolerable” to look to the former Labour leader as an authority on humanism and republicanism.

Mr Corbyn has taken back to grass-roots campaigning after being kicked out of the parliamentary Labour Party.

His suspension as a Labour MP came following an Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) report into how antisemitism allegations were handled under his leadership.

It found the party had acted unlawfully, with its handling of complaints described as “inconsistent, poor, and lacking in transparency”.

Mr Corbyn was suspended from Labour after the report was released and he failed to apologise, but was later readmitted as a member.

While the nation was celebrating the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, the self-professed republican was across the Channel campaigning for two candidates in the French capital’s 20th arrondissement.

He tweeted a picture of himself out on the street with Danielle Simonnet and Danièle Obono, the two local candidates for La France Insoumise (LFI), a left-wing party started by Jean-Luc Melenchon.

Mr Melenchon – who came third in April’s presidential race – has himself repeatedly been accused of antisemitism.

Mr Corbyn said it had been “excellent” to work alongside “dozens of enthusiastic activists standing up for economic, climate and social justice across France this month.”

Ms Simonnet spoke of her “emotion and pride” during the visit, and praised Ms Obono for inviting the “symbol of our common fight for social and ecological justice across borders”.

Referencing one of Mr Corbyn’s taglines, she added: “Our fights are ‘for the many not the few’!”

However, the two candidates the besmirched former opposition leader had been there to support have received quite the opposite for the appearance.

The two LFI candidates were attacked for the photo opportunity by left-wing and socialist politicians.

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Ms Simonnet’s socialist rival and outgoing MP, Lamia El Aaraje, riposted: “The masks fall: inviting and showing support for Jeremy Corbyn, removed from the Labour Party and the group for complacency with antisemitism in England, after 1,000 complaints registered by this party, is a shame that Danielle Simonnet is proud of.

“The left cannot accept this.”

In a hostile exchange, Ms Simonnet shot back: “Shame on you. Jeremy Corbyn has never made a single antisemitic statement but has been the victim of a gross manipulation because he embodied the left wing.

“The Labour Party had to apologise and reinstate him. There are enough real antisemites to fight to invent others.”

The International League against Racism and Antisemitism (Licra) also blasted the “pride” of the two candidates in associating with Mr Corbyn.

Meanwhile, Bernard Cazeneuve, a socialist and French Prime Minister from 2016-2017, hit out at claims that the former Labour leader should be looked to by others on the left.

Referencing Mr Corbyn’s suspension over the EHRC report, he said: “Should we now consider people like Jeremy Corbyn the new references of the humanist and republican Left?

“What a downgrade! This is what, for me, will never be tolerable.”

Additional reporting by Maria Ortega

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