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Mon, 30 March 2020

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EXCL Jeremy Corbyn under pressure to face Labour MPs over anti-Semitism row

EXCL Jeremy Corbyn under pressure to face Labour MPs over anti-Semitism row
3 min read

Jeremy Corbyn is under pressure to explain directly to Labour MPs how he plans to root out anti-Semitism from the party.

He is being urged to attend a meeting of Labour’s backbench Parliamentary Committee later today.

The move comes after Mr Corbyn said he was a "militant opponent of anti-Semitism" and pledged to do all he could to stamp it out of the Labour party.

He was also forced to apologise for opposing the removal of an anti-Semitic mural from a wall in east London in 2012.

As party leader, Mr Corbyn has an open invitation to attend the weekly Parliamentary Committee meetings. 

Members of the group, who represent constituencies across the UK, say that he often misses the get-together, which are designed to make him aware of the views of his backbenchers.

Committee member Angela Smith told PoliticsHome that Mr Corbyn must attend today's meeting, which comes just two days after the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the Jewish Leadership Council organised a large demonstration in calling on him to do more to tackle anti-Semitism in his party.

More than 30 Labour MPs were among hundreds of protesters who attended the event in Parliament Square.

Ms Smith, the MP for Penistone and Stocksbridge, said: "The most important thing he can do is turn up and illustrate to us what his plan is for dealing with it.

"He’s had some time now to start thinking through what the early actions are and he needs to give an idea to the Parliamentary Committee what his response is.

"It’s important that he comes along and shows some leadership."

In a letter to the Board of Deputies and JLC on Monday, Mr Corbyn said: "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."

Meanwhile, the BBC reports that Mr Corbyn told his shadow cabinet yesterday that he would instruct incoming Labour general secretary Jennie Formby to make tackling anti-Semitism her priority.

And according to other reports some 75 Labour members are currently under investigation over anti-Semitism allegations - with some probes having gone on more than 18 months.

A source told the Daily Mail they include “the most shocking anti-Semitism that would make even a committed neo-Nazi blush”.

And the Daily Telegraph reports that supporters of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign - of which Mr Corbyn is a patron - have been accused of "harbouring anti-Semitic ideology".

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