UK Labour Party’s Jeremy Corbyn suspended after release of anti-Semitism report
The U.K. Labour Party suspended its former leader Jeremy Corbyn after an anti-Semitism report determined the party mishandled complaints of anti-Jewish prejudice under his leadership.
His suspension came after Corbyn said he did “not accept all of” the findings of a report from the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) that the party violated the Equality Act through its handling of anti-Semitic complaints.
The EHRC said in the report there were “serious failings in leadership” and “political interference” in the handling of the complaints, including 23 cases in which Corbyn’s office intervened in the investigations and/or decisions on whether to suspend those involved in the complaints.
After the report’s release, the former party leader said in a Facebook statement that he worked “eliminate all forms of racism and root out the cancer of antisemitism,” but alleged the media and his opponents “dramatically overstated” the problem “for political reasons.”
“Jewish members of our party and the wider community were right to expect us to deal with it, and I regret that it took longer to deliver that change than it should,” he said. “One antisemite is one too many, but the scale of the problem was also dramatically overstated for political reasons by our opponents inside and outside the party, as well as by much of the media.”
“While I do not accept all of its findings, I trust its recommendations will be swiftly implemented to help move on from this period,” he concluded.
A Labour Party spokesperson said in a statement obtained by Bloomberg News that Corbyn will no longer represent the party in the House of Commons.
“In light of his comments made today and his failure to retract them subsequently, the Labour Party has suspended Jeremy Corbyn pending investigation,” the spokesperson said.
Corbyn released a separate statement after his suspension, saying he “will strongly contest the political intervention to suspend me.”
“I’ve made absolutely clear that those who deny there has been an antisemitism problem in the Labour Party are wrong,” he said.
“It’s also undeniable that a false impression has been created of the number of members accused of antisemitism, as polling shows: that is what has been overstated, not the seriousness of the problem,” he added.
I will strongly contest the political intervention to suspend me.
I’ve made absolutely clear those who deny there has been an antisemitism problem in the Labour Party are wrong.
I will continue to support a zero tolerance policy towards all forms of racism.
— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) October 29, 2020
The party’s current leader, Keir Starmer, said in a statement that it was a “day of shame” for the party and apologized for the “pain and grief” that Jewish people experienced, according to Bloomberg. He said he will implement all of the recommendations from the EHRC report and give an action plan to the commission in six weeks.
Starmer said during a press conference that the report showed a “collective failure” of the party, adding, “Those who deny there’s a problem are part of the problem.”
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