Labour’s chief whip has told Jeremy Corbyn he must “unequivocally, unambiguously and without reservation” apologise for his response to the EHRC’s report on Labour antisemitism where he claims that the “scale of the problem” had been “dramatically overstated for political reasons”.
Mr Corbyn was also told to edit or delete the Facebook post where he had made the statement, according to the letter sent by Nicholas Brown and published in the Daily Mail on Tuesday.
On October 29th, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) publicly released its report on the findings of the handling of anti-Jewish hatred in the party under the former leadership of Mr Corbyn.
The report found that there were “serious failings” in the handling of antisemitism complaints. The EHRC had said that the party had broken equality laws under Corbyn’s leadership, with the body’s lead investigator Alasdair Henderson saying Corbyn was “ultimately accountable and responsible for what happened at that time”.
Corbyn responded to the findings on Facebook, reading: “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.” These are the remarks that Labour has instructed be removed, or for the whole post to be deleted.
The former Labour Party leader added: “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.”
That same day, Labour officials suspended Mr Corbyn from the party. Three weeks later, Labour’s National Executive Committee disciplinary panel lifted his suspension, on condition that he edited or removed his Facebook post. However, party leader Sir Keir Starmer said that Corbyn will still not have the whip restored, meaning that he cannot fully sit in the House of Commons as a Labour MP.
Jewish Groups: Corbyn Rightly Blamed for Damage to Jews and UK Labour https://t.co/AIc6PbESkH
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) October 29, 2020
In the letter from the chief whip dated Monday, Mr Brown said that Corbyn’s response had caused “distress and pain” to Jewish people and called on the Islington MP to apologise “unequivocally, unambiguously and without reservation”.
As well as deleting or editing the Facebook post, Mr Brown asked for Corbyn’s “assurance” that he will “cooperate fully with the Labour Party as it seeks to implement the recommendations set out in the EHRC report”.
Centrist Sir Keir Starmer took over leadership of the left-wing Opposition party in April and has attempted to remould the party by firing Corbynites from Shadow Cabinet roles. However, a strong contingent on the hard left within Labour remains and is actively supporting Mr Corbyn in his showdown against the party apparatus, including his long-term ally Diane Abbott.
Divide within the party was further highlighted when on Tuesday, The Guardian revealed that around 13 leftist members of the NEC had walked out on a zoom call in protest of the appointment of Margaret Beckett, a Starmer ally, as the governing body’s chairman. The group, identified as Corbyn supporters, were reportedly angry that the NEC’s chairman will now be democratically elected by its members — who are in the majority Starmer supporters — rather than being appointed on a rotating basis.
With Friends Like These… Bolivian Dictator Evo Morales Offers Support for Jeremy Corbyn https://t.co/vIjZjHf8V2
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) November 2, 2020