Jeremy Corbyn has said Sir Keir Starmer’s decision to bar him from standing as a Labour candidate at the next election is a “flagrant attack” on democracy.

Former Labour leader Corbyn, who currently sits as an independent MP, hit out at his successor – describing the move as a “divisive distraction from our overriding goal: to defeat the Conservative Party”.

It comes after Starmer, for the first time, unequivocally barred Corbyn from standing as a Labour candidate at the next General Election.

On an “important day” for Labour, Starmer welcomed the equalities watchdog’s decision to lift the party out of two years of special measures over its past failings on antisemitism.

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He used a speech on Wednesday to invite his opponents on the Labour left to leave the party which he said is now “unrecognisable” from its form under Corbyn.

“Let me be very clear, Jeremy Corbyn will not stand at the next General Election as a Labour Party candidate,” Starmer said in east London.

“What I said about the party changing I meant and we are not going back.”

Responding to Starmer, Corbyn added: “Any attempt to block my candidacy is a denial of due process, and should be opposed by anybody who believes in the value of democracy.”