Corbyn faces showdown with raging Labour MPs over anti-Semitism crisis

Corbyn faces showdown with raging Labour MPs over anti-Semitism crisis after the party was branded ‘institutionally racist’

  • Jeremy Corbyn facing wrath of MPs at Labour Parliamentary Party meeting 
  • Leader has been condemned over wave of anti-Semitism wracking the party
  • Senior MP Chuka Umunna has branded the Labour Party ‘institutionally racist’
  • Mr Corbyn tried to quell row by acknowledging the ‘difficult time’ for British Jews
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Jeremy Corbyn (pictured on a visit to Leicester last week) made a fresh bid to quell the anti-Semitism row toiday

Jeremy Corbyn is facing a showdown with raging Labour MPs over the anti-Semitism crisis today after the party was branded ‘institutionally racist’.

The leader will run the gauntlet of fury in his own ranks at a meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party.

Mr Corbyn made a fresh bid to quell the row this morning, vowing to tackle the ‘social cancer’ of anti-Semitism and acknowledging that Britain’s Jews had faced a ‘difficult time’.

But the remarks will not satisfy MPs who are incensed by the wave of vile abuse wracking the party, and the leadership’s resistance to adopting the international definition of anti-Semitism.

Mr Corbyn himself has been forced to deny allegations of anti-Semitism, including over a notorious jibe he made about ‘British Zionists’ not understanding ‘English Irony’.

The clash comes after former frontbencher Chuka Umunna made the ‘very painful’ admission that Labour was ‘institutionally racist’.

‘If you look at the definition of institutional racism as outlined by Sir William Macpherson in the Macpherson Report and the Macpherson Inquiry produced the institutional racism definition,’ he told Sky News.

‘The Labour Party, it’s beyond doubt for me that it has met it – it’s very painful for me to say that.’   

However, Mr Umunna vowed to stay as a party member because it was better to ‘try and argue and see change through in an organisation’ rather than ‘leave the field’.

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In a message to mark Jewish New Year – Rosh Hashanah – Mr Corbyn said: ‘I would like to reiterate that the Labour Party stands in solidarity with the Jewish community in the fight against anti-Semitism. 

‘We will work to eradicate the social cancer of anti-Semitism wherever is surfaces, including in our own party. 

‘We need change and I hope this year we can make this happen. 

‘Let us all re-commit to doing things differently, working together for community and social justice and changing not just ourselves but our society.’

Yesterday the former chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, Trevor Phillips, claimed the Labour Party is ‘led by anti-Semites and racists’.

Mr Phillips, who served as a Labour member of the London Assembly for three years, told the Mail on Sunday that rows about anti-Semitism are ‘killing our party’.

Speaking on Sky News’ Sophy Ridge on Sunday (pictured), former frontbencher Chuka Umunna said it was ‘very painful’ to admit Labour had such deep-seated problems

Jeremy Corbyn was branded ‘an anti-Semite and a racist’ yesterday by Trevor Phillips

Labour has faced accusations of anti-Semitism as senior figures have demanded the leadership take firm action to prove the party is not hostile to the Jewish community.

Mr Phillips said: ‘It doesn’t help that one of our great parties, the one I belong to, is led by anti-Semites and racists who basically want to eliminate anyone who disagrees with them.’

Mr Corbyn’s office said Mr Phillips’ comments were ‘wrong and offensive’.

Labour made another desperate effort to move on from the damaging row over anti-Semitism today, with John McDonnell setting out plans for private firms with more than 250 staff to set up ‘ownership funds’ to give workers a financial stake and influence in their companies.

The shadow chancellor said he wants to deliver an ‘irreversible shift in wealth and power in favour of working people’ as Labour prepares for a general election within months.

Mr McDonnell set out his plans in an Observer interview in which he said Labour must be ready for an election because the Tories are on the brink of collapse.

He said: ‘What this will ensure is that in large companies, in addition to rewarding workers with wages, they will reward them with shares that will go into a pool that will allow them to have an ownership role.’

What is the timeline of anti-Semitic scandals which have erupted under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership?

Jeremy Corbyn (pictured) has been accused of failing to tackle the racism among his supporters 

The anti-Semitism scandal has dogged Labour since Jeremy Corbyn was elected leader  in 2015.

Here is a timeline of the controversies: 

April 2016:

Labour MP Naz Shah is suspended for anti-Semitic posts – including one in which she appeared to endorse calls for Israelis to be deported to the US. 

She apologised and was given a formal warning.  

Ken Livingstone goes on the radio to defend Ms Shah – but sparks fresh controversy by claiming that Hitler supported Zionism. 

He is suspended by Labour but refuses to apologise and has repeated the claim many times.

He eventually quits Labour two years later, saying his suspension has become a distraction.

June 2016: 

A two-month inquiry by civil liberties campaigner Shami Chakrabarti finds that Labour is not overrun by anti-Semitism. 

But the launch is overshadowed when Jewish Labour MP Ruth Smeeth flees it in tears after being accused by Corbyn supporter Marc Wadsworth of colluding with the press.

Critics accuse the report of being a whitewash and Ms Chakrabarti is widely criticised for accepting a peerage from Jeremy Corbyn shortly afterwards.

October 2016: 

The Home Affairs Select Committee says Labour is guilty of incompetence over its handling of anti-Semitism and of creating a safe space for people with ‘vile attitudes towards Jewish people’.

March 2018: 

It is revealed that Jeremy Corbyn defended an artist who painted an anti-Semitic mural and said the offensive art should be removed.

He apologises saying he did not properly look at the picture before he made the post.

Jewish leaders take the unprecedented step of holding a demonstration outside Parliament protesting Mr Corbyn’s failure to tackle anti-Semitism.

Several Labour MPs address the crowds.

April 2018:

Marc Wadsworth is expelled from Labour after being accused of anti-Semitism. 

Meanwhile, Labour Jewish MPs tell of the anti-Semitic abuse they have suffered in a powerful parliamentary debate – and round on their leader for failing to tackle it. 

July 2018:

The Labour leadership sparks fresh anger by failing to fully adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of anti-Semitism

Peter Willsman, a strong ally of Jeremy Corbyn, is secretly taped ranting that Jewish ‘Trump fanatics’ invented the anti-Semitism storm engulfing Labour. 

In an angry diatribe at a meeting of Labour’s ruling executive committee, he said he was ‘amazed’ there was evidence party members hated Jews.

He claimed ‘some of these people in the Jewish community support Trump – they are Trump fanatics’ before shouting: ‘So I am not going to be lectured to by Trump fanatics making up duff information without any evidence at all.’

August 2018:

Jeremy Corbyn issues a video insisting he is committed to tackling the racism – but it is panned by Jewish leaders.

Corbynistas mount a social media campaign to get deputy Labour leader Tom Watson to quit after he criticises the party’s handling of anti-Semitism. 

The Daily Mail exclusively publishes photos of Jeremy Corbyn holding a wreath at a ceremony where a terrorist linked to the Munich massacre was honoured.

The Labour leader insists he was there to honour others killed – but faces fresh calls to quit over the scandal. 



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