LABOUR leader Keir Starmer has suspended his predecessor Jeremy Corbyn from the party over his remarks yesterday about anti-Semitism in the Labour Party.
Corbyn was doing an interview after the publication of the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s (EHRC) report. Corbyn has vowed to fight the suspension.
Corbyn reacted to his suspension yesterday: ‘I will strongly contest the political intervention to suspend me. I’ve made absolutely clear those who deny there has been an anti-Semitism problem in the Labour Party are wrong.
‘It is also undeniable that a false impression has been created of the number of members accused of anti-Semitism. As polling shows that is what has been overstated, not the seriousness of the problem.
‘I will continue to support a zero-tolerance policy towards all forms of racism and I urge all members to stay calm and focused while this problem is resolved amicably as I believe it will be to defeat this awful government which is further impoverishing the poorest in our society.’
Labour said: ‘In light of his comments made today and his failure to retract them subsequently, the Labour Party has suspended Jeremy Corbyn pending investigation. He has also had the whip removed from the Parliamentary Labour Party.’
In the interview Corbyn said: ‘One anti-Semite is one too many, but the scale of the problem was also dramatically overstated for political reasons by our opponents inside and outside the party, as well as by much of the media.
‘That combination hurt Jewish people and must never be repeated. My sincere hope is that relations with Jewish communities can be rebuilt and those fears overcome. While I do not accept all of its findings, I trust its recommendations will be swiftly implemented to help move on from this period.’
Corbyn was challenged by the interviewer: ‘Keir Starmer has said today that those who pretend this is exaggerated or is factional are part of the problem. You have told me today it is exaggerated.’
Corbyn replied: ‘What I said today was that anti-Semitism is unacceptable in any form. What I said was that the numbers of cases in the public perception had become overstated. The existence of the problem, I fully acknowledge which is why I took action to end the problem in the party to introduce a process to get anti-Semites out of the party.
The interviewer continued: ‘You used the word today with me “exaggerated”. Keir Starmer says that those who pretend this is exaggerated or factional are part of the problem. Are you part of the problem?’
Corbyn replied: ‘No I am not part of the problem, the problem is anti-Semitism historically and anti-Semitism in the present and the fear that many people have of being under attack in their synagogue, or indeed mosques and many other places in our society. We need to tackle racism in every conceivable form in our society.’
Earlier in the interview Corbyn said: ‘The media claimed that a third of Labour Party members were under suspicion of anti-Semitism allegations.
‘The reality is it was 0.3 per cent of Labour Party members had a case against them which had to be put through the process and so I think that it is clear that I do not accept, Keir Starmer does not accept, none of us accept anti-Semitism in any form whatsoever in our party.
‘I did everything that I could to make sure a process was put in place and that process could take place quickly and as the report acknowledges in the latter stages the process had speeded up, where necessary people were expelled from the party.
‘But also we could have and should have made more progress on the education process because I do think education is important to address the hurt caused to Jewish people by allegations of anti-Semitism by anti-Semitic tropes, tweets and messages. It is deep and horrible and I am very sorry to any people who were hurt as a result of that.
‘I want to see like everybody else does in the Labour Party anti-Semitism completely ended.’