Labour must do much more to tackle anti-Semitism in party – Sadiq Khan

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London mayor Sadiq Khan has called for Labour to do “much more” to tackle anti-Semitism in the party as he told of his anger over the problem.

Jeremy Corbyn is facing fresh criticism over his failure to tackle hostility to Jews following a report that the party has a backlog of 74 cases that are still to be dealt with.

Mr Khan said he was “angry” that friends of his who are Jewish felt they did not have a home in the party and the issue had left him “heartbroken”.

He told BBC Radio 4’s The World At One: “I’m appalled and heartbroken that Londoners of Jewish faith don’t feel the Labour Party’s for them.

“I think the Labour Party needs to do much more. It’s the Labour Party’s responsibility.

“Jeremy is the leader but it’s the Labour Party’s responsibility to take decisive, swift action against those members of our party against whom allegations have been made.”

Prime Minister Theresa May called for MPs to eradicate racial hatred when she spoke during Prime Minister's Questions (PA)
Prime Minister Theresa May called for MPs to eradicate racial hatred when she spoke during Prime Minister’s Questions (PA)

She told the Commons: “I think there should be a very clear message from all of us in this House that there is no place for racial hatred, for hate crime, in our society – this should not be part of our society.

“Whether it is Islamophobia or anti-Semitism, this is something we should all stand up against and do our best to eradicate from our society.”

A Labour source quoted by the Daily Mail said some of the complaints about anti-Semitic behaviour in the party dated back two years and included some of the “most shocking and blatant” examples of anti-Jewish sentiment.

The party said the number of “live” cases represented around 0.01% of the Labour membership.

A spokesman said that any complaints of anti-Semitism were dealt with “extremely seriously” and were fully investigated.

Mr Corbyn acknowledged on Monday that the party had been “too slow” in dealing with cases of anti-Semitism, and apologised for the “hurt” it had caused.

His admission followed an unprecedented letter from the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the Jewish Leadership Council accusing him of siding with anti-Semites “again and again”.

The Mail quoted a Labour source as saying: “Many of these cases include the most shocking and blatant anti-Semitism that would make even a committed Nazi blush.

“From Holocaust denial to outright hatred of Jewish people, these views should not be tolerated anywhere in society let alone Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party.”

In response to the claims, a Labour Party spokesman said: “The Labour Party is committed to challenging and campaigning against anti-Semitism in all its forms.

“Any complaints of anti-Semitism are taken extremely seriously. These are fully investigated in line with our rules and procedures and any appropriate disciplinary action taken.”

Labour MPs Wes Streeting, co-chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group on British Jews, and John Mann, chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group against Anti-Semitism, have written to Mr Corbyn to urge him to take action to tackle “this poison in our ranks”.

Posting a copy of the letter on Twitter, Mr Streeting said: “@jeremycorbyn’s statement on Monday has not been heeded by all those claiming to support him. @JohnMannMP and I have written about the abuse that’s taken place in the last 48 hours and the action that’s needed.”

The letter warns that there must be a “turning point for our Party on anti-Semitism”, and says Mr Corbyn should meet with Jewish colleagues and “send a message of solidarity” to all Jewish members demanding that social media abuse against them ends.

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