WATCH: Emily Thornberry: I had to confront anti-Semitic Labour supporter in the street
Emily Thornberry has revealed that she had to take on an anti-Semitic Labour party supporter in the street, as the party grapples with claims it has been too slow to act on abuse.
Labour is under renewed pressure to root out anti-Semitism from within its ranks after MPs spoke out about the attacks they had faced in a highly-charged Commons debate this week.
Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr show today, the Shadow Foreign Secretary said she was “fed up with hearing this dreadful stuff”, and expressed her horror at a recent encounter with a supporter that she said had descended into “appalling” anti-Semitism.
“This whole issue has been raised and people feel that it’s fine to come up and talk to you in the most appalling terms, quite frankly,” Ms Thornberry said.
"I spoke to somebody last weekend and I was really shocked to suddenly see the way in which the conversation turned and she thought that she was supportive of Labour, and she thought that she was supportive of me. And I had to make it clear that actually that was not acceptable."
She added: "It’s terrible. It’s terrible and we will sort this out.”
Her comments came as the daughter of Labour MP John Mann - who chairs the all-party group on anti-Semitism - said the party’s high command had failed to get in touch with her after she was threatened with rape.
Mann this week told MPs how his wife had been threatened with rape and had been sent a dead bird in the post, with Special Branch also drafted in to track his daughter's movements following a string of threats against her.
Writing in The Sunday Times, Heather Mann said: “When my mother was sent the dead bird in 2012, party officials rightly and repeatedly ensured she was safe. Yet since my father raised in detail the latest threats against us in private to the parliamentary Labour Party three weeks ago, nobody from the national party has bothered to check on us. Nobody."
Ms Thornberry’s shadow cabinet colleague Andrew Gwynne told The House magazine this week that clamping down on anti-Semitism would be the “number one priority” of the party’s new general secretary Jennie Formby.
That view was echoed by Ms Thornberry, who described the new Labour chief as a “breath of fresh air” and committed to tackling the problem.
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