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October 30, 2020

UK Labour suspends Corbyn on anti-Semitism treatment

Top Story

October 30, 2020

LONDON: Britain’s opposition Labour party suspended its former leader Jeremy Corbyn on Thursday for seeking to deflect blame away from himself after a report found that under his leadership the party was responsible for unlawful harassment and discrimination, a British wire service reported on Thursday. Corbyn’s successor, Keir Starmer, apologised and said Labour was facing a “day of shame” after the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) found serious failings in how the party had dealt with allegations of anti-Semitism within its ranks.

Corbyn’s tenure was marred by persistent complaints of anti-Semitism in the party and criticism of the leader’s response.

He was suspended after saying he did not accept all the report’s findings, that his attempts at reforming complaints processes had been stalled by “obstructive party bureaucracy” and that the scale of the problem had been overstated for political reasons.

“In light of his comments made today and his failure to retract them subsequently, the Labour Party has suspended Jeremy Corbyn pending investigation,” Labour said in a statement.

The party added it had removed the Labour whip from Corbyn, meaning that the former leader will no longer be able to take part in House of Commons votes as a Labour lawmaker.

Starmer said he accepted the EHRC’s report “in full” and would implement all its recommendations.

“It is a day of shame for the Labour Party. We have failed Jewish people... I am truly sorry for all the pain and grief that has been caused,” said Starmer, who held a senior role under Corbyn’s leadership but has tried to stamp out the problem since taking over.

“Never again will we fail to tackle anti-Semitism and never again will we lose your trust.”

According to British media, there’s growing anger among the Unions - Dave Ward, general secretary of the Communications Workers’ Union, said the decision to suspend Corbyn is “fundamentally wrong and needs to change”.

“The EHRC report is a serious and detailed document everyone in the Party should read and understand Keir Starmer’s political decision to suspend Jeremy Corbyn - a lifelong anti-racist campaigner - flies in the face of the report,” he tweeted.

Jeremy Corbyn has urged his Labour supporters to “stay in the party” to fight for left-wing principles following the decision to suspend him.

In a broadcast interview in Islington following the removal of the party whip in the wake of his reaction to EHRC report, the former Labour leader called for calm and for members to “make the case” for left-wing values internally.

“Quite clearly the decision was made in a very quick way and I would just say, hang on a minute, let’s all keep a bit calm, let’s think again about this whole issue,” he said.

“Our party comes together to fight racism and injustice but we also come together to bring about economic justice for the people of this country.”

“That is what unites our movement and our party and that is what I appeal to members to focus on. Don’t go away, don’t leave the party. Stay in the party and argue the case for economic and social justice in our society.”

During the interview, the MP refused to retract his earlier statements, saying the “public perception” about how many members were under investigation for anti-Semitism was “very different” to the reality.

But he added: “I’ve explained what I said, I’ve explained what I meant by it. I’m not diminishing or minimising the issue of anti-Semitism.

“It is serious, it is real, it does exist. I’ve explained what the statement was designed to say, simply the size of the issue. But one anti-Semite is one too many and I’ve made that clear to everyone in the party.”