The loudest cheers to emerge from a PLP meeting since Jeremy Corbyn rose to power came after the Labour MP Jess Phillips called for George Galloway to never be allowed to re-join Labour. The sentiment was later reinforced in an editorial by Dawn Butler — who helped Corbyn get on the ballot slip — where she wrote that Corbyn had told her he was not in favour of letting his old comrade Galloway back in.
So Mr S can’t help but wonder whether both Butler and Phillips will be disappointed to read comments made by Corbyn in an interview with the Huffington Post. When asked whether he would like to have Galloway — who was expelled in 2003 following his outspoken comments on the Iraq war — back in the Labour party, Corbyn refrains from siding with his female colleagues. Rather than say he would be unhappy if Galloway returned, he simply explained the process which could lead to Galloway’s return:
‘”There is a five year rule,” he replies. “If he applies in five years’ time, it goes to the National Executive, they decide. Not me.” Pressed further if he would be unhappy at him being readmitted, Corbyn replies: “Let them decide.”’
So has something happened to change Corbyn’s mind since he spoke to Butler of his concerns back in November? Perhaps Galloway’s ‘closest friend‘ — and Corbyn’s head of comms — Seumas Milne has had a word.