Labour Party Suspends Fmr Leader Jeremy Corbyn After He Rejected Antisemitism Report

Opposition Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn takes part in a press conference in London on December 6, 2019. (Photo by Ben STANSALL / AFP) (Photo by BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images)
BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images

The Labour Party has suspended Jeremy Corbyn after he rejected the overall findings of the EHRC’s report on antisemitism under his leadership, saying the issue had been “overstated”.

The UK’s Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) report released on Thursday found there were “serious failings” in the Labour Party’s handling of antisemitism complaints amongst its membership during the veteran socialist’s leadership. The antiracism watchdog found the party responsible for political interference in the complaints, harassment, and had failed to provide adequate training to those handling antisemitism accusations.

The EHRC’s lead investigator, Alasdair Henderson, said: “As the leader of the party at the time, and given the extent of the failings we found in the political interference within the leader of the opposition’s office, Jeremy Corbyn is ultimately accountable and responsible for what happened at that time.”

In response, Mr Corbyn said did not accept all of the EHRC’s findings and said that the issue of antisemitism was “dramatically overstated for political reasons”.

Mr Corbyn said, according to The Guardian: “One antisemite 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.”

Speaking to Sky News later in the day, Mr Corbyn refused to retract his remarks, again claiming that the scale of antisemitism in the Labour Party had been “exaggerated”.

“I don’t believe I did fail,” Mr Corbyn said, adding that he would not resign from the party.

Shortly afterwards, a Labour spokesman confirmed Corbyn’s suspension from the party, saying: “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.”

Corbyn said of his suspension: “I will strongly contest the political intervention to suspend me. I’ve made absolutely clear those who deny there has been an antisemitism problem in the Labour Party are wrong. I will continue to support a zero tolerance policy towards all forms of racism.”

Labour’s new leader, Sir Keir Starmer, said during a press conference after the findings were published: “We have failed Jewish people, our members, our supporters and the British public. On behalf of the Labour Party, I am truly sorry for all the pain and grief that has been caused.”

“Never again will Labour let you down. Never again will Labour fail to tackle antisemitism,” Sir Keir said.

“This must be a line in the sand,” he added.

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