Jeremy Corbyn has branded the news that he will not be allowed to stand for Labour at the next election as a “divisive distraction”.

The former Labour leader hit out at Sir Keir Starmer’s decision, claiming that it was “a flagrant attack on the democratic rights of Islington North Labour Party members”.

The Islington North MP’s comments come after Sir Keir told an audience at Toynbee Hall in Whitechapel on Wednesday (February 15): “Let me be very clear, Jeremy Corbyn will not stand at the next general election as a Labour Party candidate.”

Sir Keir, the MP for Holborn and St Pancras, added: “What I said about the party changing I meant, and we are not going back.”

His statement coincided with the decision of the equalities watchdog to lift the party out of two years of special measures over its past failings on antisemitism.

Mr Corbyn, who now sits as an independent, had the Labour whip removed over his response to the scathing Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) report into antisemitism in the party in October 2020.

Criticising the decision to prevent him from standing as a Labour candidate at the next general election, Mr Corbyn said: “Keir Starmer’s statement about my future is a flagrant attack on the democratic rights of Islington North Labour Party members.

“It is up to them – not party leaders – to decide who their candidate should be. 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.

“At a time when the government is overseeing the worst cost-of-living crisis in a generation, this is a divisive distraction from our overriding goal: to defeat the Conservative Party at the next General Election.

“I am proud to represent the labour movement in Parliament through my constituency.

“I am focused on standing up for workers on the picket line, the marginalised, and all those worried about their futures. That is what I’ll continue to do. I suggest the Labour Party does the same.”

Mr Corbyn’s next steps are unclear, but if he decides to run as an independent MP Labour would face a challenge to win his seat.

The left-wing veteran commands significant local support there having represented Islington North for 40 years.