Jeremy Corbyn DENIES there is a ‘wide scale’ bullying problem in Labour after NINE MPs quit over his handling of the party’s anti-Semitism crisis
- Jeremy Corbyn insists the Labour Party does not have a bullying problem
- Labour leader address the nine MPs who quit the party over anti-Semitism
- He dismissed bullying claims and said: ‘I don’t believe it exists on a wide scale’
- Ian Austin became ninth Labour MP to resign, citing anti-Semitism in the party
Jeremy Corbyn has denied bullying exists on a ‘wide scale’ in the Labour Party following the resignation of nine MPs who cited rising anti-Semitism under his leadership.
The Labour leader addressed comments made by his deputy, Tom Watson, who said ‘a virulent form of identity politics has seized the party.’
Speaking on his visit to Spain, Mr Corbyn said: ‘There is no place for harshness, bullying or anything else in the party.
‘And to tell you the truth, I don’t believe it exists on a wide scale.’
Jeremy Corbyn has denied bullying exists on a ‘wide scale’ in the Labour Party following the resignation of nine MPs who cited rising anti-Semitism under his leadership
His comments made to Sky News are in stark contrast to the remarks made by the resigning Labour MPs who slammed the party for it’s failure to tackle anti-Semitism.
Former minister Ian Austin quit Labour today, saying he is ‘ashamed’ of the party under Mr Corbyn’s leadership and ‘appalled’ by the offence it has caused to Jews.
He said there was a ‘culture of extremism, anti-Semitism and intolerance’ as he became the ninth MP to quit Labour in a week.
The Dudley North MP, whose Jewish adoptive father was forced to flee the Nazis as a child, said he joined Labour to fight racism and ‘I could never have believed that I’d be leaving because of racism too’.
Despite the comments by Mr Austin and Mr Watson today, the Labour leader dismissed accusations, adding: ‘Of course I disagree with him, because I do not wish to be in a party where there’s any bullying.
‘I’ll be speaking to Tom Watson in the very near future to talk about that.’
Following Mr Austin’s resignation this morning, a party spokesman said: ‘We regret that Ian Austin has left the Labour Party.
‘He was elected as a Labour MP and so the democratic thing is to resign his seat and let the people of Dudley decide who should represent them.’
But deputy Labour leader Tom Watson said it was a ‘serious blow’ to the party and added: ‘It’s also personally hard to see a close friend take a decision of this magnitude.’
Former Labour MPs Luciana Berger, Chuka Umunna and Chris Leslie – who left to form the Independent Group earlier in the week – offered support to Mr Austin after his announcement, although he has said he has no plans to join them.