Labour members believe anti-Semitism criticism is trumped up to harm Jeremy Corbyn
The majority of Labour members believe accusations of antisemitism in the party are being exaggerated to damage Jeremy Corbyn.
A YouGov poll of 1,156 paying Labour members for the Times, taken between Tuesday and Thursday, found 47% believed anti-Semitism was a problem “but its extent is being deliberately exaggerated to damage Labour and Jeremy Corbyn or to stifle criticism of Israel”.
Thirty per cent said it was “not a serious problem”.
Christine Shawcroft, the Labour NEC member whose defence of a former party candidate suspended over anti-Semitism allegations reignited the issue, has written on her own Facebook page that the “whole row is being stirred up to attack Jeremy”.
Mr Corbyn himself said the criticisms of his handling of anti-Semitism in the party are not a "smear". In a message for Passover yesterday, he called for “stronger and closer relations” between Labour and Britain’s Jewish community.
Meanwhile Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell has asked Lord Sugar to delete a tweet which juxtaposes Jeremy Corby and Adolf Hitler.
“People have contacted me about Alan Sugar’s tweet," the Labour MP wrote. "I just make this appeal to him. Please delete and disown it. We all desperately need to bring people together now. We can hold strong views about each other’s politics but now is the time to learn from each other and unite people.”
Labour MP John Mann, a fierce critic of anti-Semitism within the party, backed Mr McDonnell: “The use of Hitler/ Nazi comparators is demeaning, unwarranted and dangerous. You damage the fight against antisemitism with this @Lord_Sugar. Withdraw this and apologise please.”
Sugar later wrote: “It’s a joke, but the angry brigade like to moan.”