Jeremy Corbyn says concerns about antisemitism are not “exaggerated” or “overstated”
Islington North MP releases statement he submitted to Labour HQ following his suspension from the party
17 November, 2020 — By Calum Fraser
Islington North MP Jeremy Corbyn
JEREMY Corbyn said this morning that concerns about antisemitism in the Labour Party are “neither ‘exaggerated’ nor ‘overstated’.”
The Islington North MP, who was suspended two weeks ago after comments he made following the publication of a report into anti-Jewish racism in Labour ranks, released a statement this morning (Tuesday) clarifying his position.
The Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) report made a series of findings of how the Labour Party dealt with antisemitism cases during Mr Corbyn’s time as leader.
The watchdog said it had found the party was responsible for breaches of the Equality Act relating to “political interference in anti-semitism complaints”, “harassment” and failure to provide “adequate training” to those handling anti-semitism complaints.
In the statement released today (Tuesday) which was submitted to Labour HQ shortly after the EHRC report was published, Mr Corbyn said: “The publication of the EHRC report should have been a moment for the Labour Party to come together in a determination to address the shortcomings of the past and work as one to root out antisemitism in our own ranks and wider society.
“We must never tolerate antisemitism or belittle concerns about it. And that was not my intention in anything I said this week. I regret the pain this issue has caused the Jewish community and would wish to do nothing that would exacerbate or prolong it.”
He added: “To be clear, concerns about antisemitism are neither “exaggerated” nor “overstated”. The point I wished to make was that the vast majority of Labour Party members were and remain committed anti-racists deeply opposed to antisemitism.”
Mr Corbyn’s suspension sparked outrage from Labour members, a large proportion of whom joined during his tenure as leader.
Two petitions calling for his reinstatement have collectively gathered more than 100,000 signatures.
In the statement to the Party Mr Corbyn said he “fully supported” the current Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer’s decision to accept all the EHRC recommendations in full.
The recommendations made by the watchdog include commissioning an independent process to handle anti-semitism complaints, acknowledging the effect political interference has had, and implementing clear rules to stop it happening again.
Labour has been given until December 10 to draft an action plan to implement the report’s recommendations, which is legally enforceable by the courts if not fulfilled.
Mr Corbyn said: “I hope this matter is resolved as quickly as possible, so that the party can work together to root out antisemitism and unite to oppose and defeat this deeply damaging Conservative government.”