Keir Starmer calls for end to Labour 'factionalism' after leaked anti-semitism report sparks fresh civil war
Keir Starmer took over from Jeremy Corbyn less than two weeks ago.
Keir Starmer has called for an end to Labour "factionalism" after a leaked report into anti-semitism in the party sparked a fresh civil war.
The Labour leader said he was "shocked" by the contents of the 860-page dossier, which was drawn up by allies of his predecessor, Jeremy Corbyn.
The document, which was leaked to Sky News last weekend, revealed a large number of WhatsApp messages between former party staff opposed criticising the former leader and his aides.
It also suggested that ill-feeling between rival wings of the party hampered Labour's attempts to tackle anti-Jewish racism, as well as its 2017 general election campaign.
Sir Keir and deputy leader Angela Rayner have launched an independent inquiry into how the report was drawn up, its contents and the manner in which it was leaked.
Speaking on Radio Four's Today programme, the Labour leader said: "This is a leaked report into what was apparently happening before I became leader.
"I was shocked by what I saw and the circumstance in which it all came about.
"That's why I ordered an independent inquiry, which I want to be professionally done, independently done and quickly done because our party needs to unite and face the future and get back to our historic purpose which is getting a Labour government in so we can actually change lives for millions of people for the better.
"We have to turn our back on factionalism and that was the whole basis of my leadership campaign. I'm determined to do that."
Pro-Corbyn campaign group Momentum has demanded disciplinary action against the former Labour officials named in the document, while the Fire Brigades Union accused them of mounting a “vicious sabotage campaign” aganst the ex-leader.
FBU general secretary Matt Wrack said: "This is clear evidence of what many party members knew all along - that whilst Jeremy Corbyn was trying to deliver a Labour government, senior Labour officials were conducting a vicious sabotage campaign against him.
"This abuse - which included repeated attempts to weaken Jeremy Corbyn's position - was taking place at the very same time that Labour activists were knocking on doors day and night to try and deliver a Labour government.
"Particular shame should be felt by those who were planning to oust Jeremy Corbyn less than four months after he had won a second leadership election.”
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