Sadiq Khan has said he is “appalled and heartbroken” that Jewish people feel alienated by Labour after the party was plunged into another anti-Semitism row.
The Mayor of London called for “swift” and “decisive” action to be taken against discrimination within the party, following Jeremy Corbyn’s controversial defence of an anti-Semitic mural.[tooltip id=”4500c2f113202943ff1ae30d00c9d4ac”] [/tooltip]
Mr Corbyn was forced to apologise for opposing the removal of the image from a wall in east London in a 2012 Facebook post.
In response the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the Jewish Leadership Council marched on Parliament Square calling on him to do more to tackle the issue.
Speaking on the BBC’s World at One today, Mr Khan said the party must now act to punish those accused of discrimination.[tooltip id=”4500c2f113202943ff1ae30d00c9d4ac”] [/tooltip]
He said:[tooltip id=”4500c2f113202943ff1ae30d00c9d4ac”] [/tooltip]“I’m appalled and heartbroken that Londoners of Jewish faith don’t feel the Labour party’s for them.
“I think the Labour party needs to do much more. It’s the Labour party’s responsibility.
“Jeremy is the leader but it’s the Labour party’s responsibility to take decisive, swift action against those members of our party against whom allegations have been made.”
In a letter to the Board of Deputies and the JLC on Monday, Mr said he was a “militant opponent of anti-Semitism” and would do all he could to stamp out the problem in the party.
He said:[tooltip id=”4500c2f113202943ff1ae30d00c9d4ac”] [/tooltip]“I recognise that anti-Semitism has surfaced within the Labour party, and has too often been dismissed as simply a matter of a few bad apples. This has caused pain and hurt to Jewish members of our Party and to the wider Jewish community in Britain.
“I am sincerely sorry for the pain which has been caused, and pledge to redouble my efforts to bring this anxiety to an end.”
Mr Corbyn was quizzed by backbench Labour MPs over how he plans to do that at a tense meeting this afternoon.
PoliticsHome understands that he refused to condemn a counter-demonstration organised by the pro-Corbyn Jewish Voice for Labour, which took place alongside the Board of Deputies and JLC one in Parliament Square on Monday evening.
One MP who attended the meeting said:[tooltip id=”4500c2f113202943ff1ae30d00c9d4ac”] [/tooltip]“Jeremy said it wasn’t his place to support or condemn anyone for protesting, which suggests that while he recognises there is a problem, he doesn’t recognise how damaging it is. It is absolutely the role of the leader to condemn those who are providing cover for anti-Semitism.”
PoliticsHome has also learned that at least six Labour MPs have faced identically-worded messages from their local party activists demanding they attend emergency meetings to explain why they attended the main Parliament Square demonstration.”
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