Tom Watson condemns Jeremy Corbyn ally over 'some Jews are Trump fanatics' rant
Tom Watson has launched an outspoken attack on a close ally of Jeremy Corbyn after he claimed some members of the Jewish community complaining about anti-Semitism in the Labour party were "Trump fanatics".
Peter Willsman launched his rant - which was witnessed by the Labour leader - at the last meeting of the party's ruling national executive committee.
A leaked recording of his comments have been released, in which Mr Willsman says those behind the latest anti-Semitism claims engulfing Labour "can falsify social media very easily".
He adds: "Some of these people in the Jewish community support Trump - they're Trump fanatics and all the rest of it. So I am not going to be lectured to by Trump fanatics making up daft information without any evidence at all.
"So I think we should ask the 70 rabbis 'where is your evidence of severe and widespread anti-Semitism in this party?'."
As NEC chair Andy Kerr tries to intervene, Mr Willsman - currently seeking re-election to the NEC on a left-wing slate of Jeremy Corbyn supporters - goes on: "Let me ask you a question, how many people in this room have seen anti-Semitism in the Labour party? Put your hands up. One. I've certainly never seen it."
The emergence of the tape, which was published by the Jewish Chrinicle, prompted Labour deputy leader Mr Watson to accuse Mr Willsman of being "a loud-mouthed bully".
Other Labour MPs also waded into the row to attack Mr Willsman.
When Mr Willsman's comments were first reported two weeks ago, he avoided a formal investigation by apologising.
He said: "I accept that what I did say, and the way I said it, fell short of the requirement, which I accept, for discussions of contentious issues to be conducted in a fully civil and respectful way.
"I deeply apologise for any offence caused to those present and those to whom my remarks were reported."
Labour has been mired in a fresh anti-Semitism row since its NEC upheld a decision not to fully endorse the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance's definition of the problem, alongwith its list of illustrative examples.
That led to Labour MP Margaret Hodge calling Jeremy Corbyn "an anti-Semitic racist", while fellow backbencher Ian Austin had an altercation with party chairman Ian Lavery.
Both MPs are now the subject of disciplinary investigations.