‘No snub’ but Corbyn won’t meet NI Labour activists

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn gives a lecture at Queen's University on Thursday and meets business leaders on Friday
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn gives a lecture at Queen's University on Thursday and meets business leaders on Friday
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Jeremy Corbyn will visit Belfast and Londonderry this week but has no plans to meet Labour activists in Northern Ireland.

The Labour leader is due to deliver a public lecture at Queen’s University in Belfast on Thursday before meeting business leaders in the north west on Friday.

However, he will not be speaking with Labour Party NI representatives while a review of the LPNI’s governance takes place.

His speech at Queen’s will be Mr Corbyn’s first major speaking engagement in Northern Ireland.

LPNI spokeswoman Joan Martin said local activists were not being snubbed by the Labour leader.

“We are in special measures at the moment. We had resignations last year and a dispute following that, so the Labour Party’s policy is that they close down the organisation so that the disputes don’t get more acrimonious,” she said.

Ms Martin said the LPNI’s AGM will take place shortly when it is hoped that a new executive committee will be elected and that the special measures restrictions can be ended.

“Standing candidates would be the ultimate aim ... we want to be in a position to stand candidates, but we recognise that we will need some support [from the UK Labour Party] in order to be able to do that,” she added.

Boyd Black of LPNI said the Labour leader’s visit “is particularly important at a time of uncertainty around the implications of Brexit”.

Mr Black said: “It is also important that we are reminded of the social and economic benefits that the election of a Labour government would bring on the basis of policies set out in the ‘For The Many Not The Few’ manifesto.

“LPNI continues to strive to develop anti-sectarian politics and to that end looks forward to Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party soon granting our members here the right to contest elections.”

Mr Black added: “The undemocratic suppression of our right to engage in Labour Party electoral politics can be sustained no longer. People here badly need a Labour government and must have the opportunity to vote for Labour Party candidates as a progressive alternative to communal sectarianism.”