- Equality watchdog has called on Corbyn to ‘root out’ racists within Labour
- Tom Watson has pledged an investigation into anti-Semitic incidents
- Ken Livingstone said comparing Israel to the Nazis was not anti-Semitism
Jeremy Corbyn was forced to deny Labour is the ‘nasty party’ after the equality watchdog told him to ‘root out’ antisemites in the ranks
Jeremy Corbyn was forced last night to deny Labour had become the ‘new nasty party’.
He was under fire following more revelations and accusations about anti-Semitism within Labour’s ranks. And there were further vile slurs on the conference floor in Brighton yesterday.
The city council’s Labour leader even warned the party would not be allowed back unless Mr Corbyn halted the anti-Semitic abuse that has hit this week’s gathering.
The equality watchdog also intervened, telling Labour to do more to prove it was not a racist party.
It called on Mr Corbyn to ‘root out’ anti-Semitism.
Deputy leader Tom Watson pledged an investigation into how anti-Semites had been allowed to address the conference fringe and question whether the Holocaust had taken place. He described their claims as ‘disgusting’.
In an attempt to hit back, Mr Corbyn tried to round on interviewers, saying anti-Semitism was completely at odds with Labour’s values. ‘This is not a nasty party,’ he insisted.
Ken Livingstone – who is currently suspended from Labour for comments linking Hitler to Zionism – said comparing the state of Israel to the Nazis was not anti-Semitism
However, on a disastrous day for the Opposition:
- The Jewish Labour Movement demanded the expulsion of a delegate for using an ‘anti-Semitic trope’ in accusing the organisation of colluding with the right-wing press;
- A Trotskyist faction at the conference accused the head of the JLM of being a ‘hard-Right racist Zionist’;
- Labour frontbencher Baroness Chakrabarti questioned the need for a law to make Holocaust denial a crime;
- Actress Frances Barber quit Labour in disgust – saying she could not remain a member of a party ‘full of misogyny and anti-Semitism’;
- Lord Dubs, the respected Labour peer and a Jewish refugee from the Nazis, said Mr Corbyn’s slowness to act had allowed anti-Semitism to ‘fester’;
- Activists at a Labour event shouted ‘guillotine’ as MP Emma Dent-Coad fired a series of smears at Prince Harry, the Duke of Edinburgh and other royals;
- Former deputy leader Harriet Harman urged Mr Corbyn to deal with the intimidation of BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg by activists;
- Ken Livingstone sparked anger by accusing MPs of ‘distorting the scale’ of anti-Semitism in the party, saying that when people make offensive comments it does not mean they ‘hate Jews’.
The row erupted after the Daily Mail revealed a speaker at a Labour fringe event had questioned whether the Holocaust had actually taken place.
Allies of Mr Corbyn last night tried to play down the scale of the abuse. Len McCluskey of the Unite union said he had never encountered anti-Semitism during his decades in the Labour movement.
Tom Watson was also forced to promise an investigation into how anti-Semites had been allowed to address the conference fringe and question whether the Holocaust had taken place
He said the claims were ‘mood music created by people trying to undermine Jeremy Corbyn’.
Left-wing film-maker Ken Loach spoke of ‘false stories of anti-semitism’. Asked about those who question the Holocaust, he said: ‘All history is our common heritage to discuss and analyse.’
Brighton and Hove Council’s Labour leader Warren Morgan wrote to party general secretary Iain McNicol warning it would not be allowed to hold any more conferences in the city unless it gave guarantees against a repeat of this week’s outbursts.
Labour last night passed a motion for tougher action against those who deploy anti-Semitic abuse, making it easier to expel them.