MPs call on Jeremy Corbyn to take ‘action, rather than words’ on anti-Semitism

Ilford North MP Wes Streeting and Ilford South MP Mike Gapes. Photos: Andrea Cole / Ken Mears

Ilford North MP Wes Streeting and Ilford South MP Mike Gapes. Photos: Andrea Cole / Ken Mears - Credit: Archant

Labour MPs Wes Streeting and Mike Gapes are urging leader Jeremy Corbyn to use actions, rather than words, to address anti-Semitism within the party’s ranks.

Both Ilford MPs attended a rally outside Parliament last week (Monday, March 26) organised by the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the Jewish Leadership Council.

Mr Streeting, who co-chairs a cross-party parliamentary group on British Jews, issued a letter urging the leader to take three steps on Tuesday, March 27.

Mr Streeting said: “That the representative bodies for British Jews were compelled to call a rally against anti-Semitism in the Labour Party is a stain on the conscience of our party.”

Co-signed by Bassetlaw MP John Mann, Mr Streeting asked the party leader to make is clear those suggesting that “concerns about anti-Semitism amount to a smear campaign” do not speak for him.

You may also want to watch:

It also calls on Mr Corbyn to meet with Jewish colleagues and demand social media abuse directed against them ends.

The third step recommends the party’s working group tasked with rooting out anti-Semitism is “sufficiently resourced” and its membership and remit is published.

Most Read

The scandal hit headlines last week after it was revealed that Jeremy Corbyn posted a comment defending an anti-Semitic mural in 2012.

He has since apologised for the comment.

Speaking to the Recorder, Mr Gapes suggested that Jeremy Corbyn expel high-level party members under investigation for anti-Semitism, such as Ken Livingstone.

“In 1996, I introduced a private member’s bill to make holocaust denial a criminal offence,” he said.

“While the bill wasn’t debated, it I would never have imagined that some Labour candidates selected to run in local elections would be holocaust deniers,” he added, referring to recently deselected Tunbridge Well’s candidate Roy Smart.

“The older generation in my synagogue feel bereft and very unhappy,” said Rabbi David Hulbert of the East London and Essex Liberal Synagogue.

“They were local Labour Party voters their whole lives.”

But he added that it is important to “get a sense of proportion.”

“It’s the Labour activists who have a loyalty to anti-Semitic fantasies, not the party as a whole.

“I’m pleased that Jeremy Corbyn was invited to a passover Seder meal and attended a passover meal.”

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter