The suspension of Jeremy Corbyn from Labour has sparked a split within the party as left-wing supporters rallied to his defence.
The former Labour leader was suspended from the party on Thursday after an investigation into its handling of anti-Semitism.
A report by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) found the party was responsible for unlawful acts of harassment and discrimination.
But Corbyn rejected some of the equality watchdog’s findings and claimed the issue had been “dramatically overstated for political reasons” by his critics – comments that led to him having the whip removed on Thursday.
The decision has sparked a split within the party, with campaigning arm Momentum announcing there will be a virtual Stand with Corbyn rally on Friday evening.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said he was “disappointed” in his predecessor’s response to the damning investigation and said he wanted to “united members”.
He said: “I don’t want a split in the Labour Party. I stood as leader of the Labour Party on the basis that I would unite the party, but also that I would tackle anti-Semitism.
“Both of those can be done. There’s no reason for a civil war in our party.”
Labour has stressed that the decision to suspend Corbyn was taken by its general secretary David Evans, but shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy confirmed Sir Keir was briefed beforehand and approved of the move.
The move prompted Unite union boss Len McCluskey to brand it an “act of grave injustice” which could “create chaos within the party” and put any chance of election success in jeopardy.
“A split party will be doomed to defeat,” he said.
Ex-shadow chancellor John McDonnell described the suspension as “profoundly wrong”.