Former Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy says he is 'disgusted' by party's failure to tackle anti-Semitism

Posted On: 
21st May 2018

A former Labour Cabinet minister has spoken of his "disgust" at the party's failure to tackle its anti-Semitism problem.

Jim Murphy stood down as Scottish Labour leader after losing his Westminster seat.
PA Images

Jim Murphy said Labour had "no right" to ask Jewish voters for their support until it properly deals with the issue.

The former Scottish Labour leader was MP for East Renfrewshire, a constituency with one of the highest Jewish populations in the UK, until he lost his seat at the 2015 election.

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Speaking publicly for the first time since leaving the political frontline, he said: "The way in which anti-Semitism has been normalised in the darker recesses of the Labour party absolutely disgusts me. It's the one thing above all else that makes me angry about Jeremy Corbyn's leadership.

"Jewish minorities in Britain should know that the established parties will stand by them at times of difficulty and not be part of the problem. There isn't a proper adjective to capture how angry I am about it."

The former Scottish Secretary said that when he was MP for East Renfrewshire, 12 of his constituents were Holocaust survivors.

He said: "Those 12 constituents were my most important constituents because of what they had gone through and I feel disgusted that their families see elements of the Labour party behaving in this way."

Mr Murphy, who now works as an adviser to Tony Blair, said Jeremy Corbyn's election as Labour leader had "given confidence" to left-wing anti-Semites.

"It's not good enough to be platitudinous," he said. "Labour has no right to ask for the votes of Jewish voters if it continues to harbour foul-mouthed anti-Semites of the sort I didn't think existed in the Labour party."

Labour has been dogged by a series of anti-Semitism controversies over the past three years, culminating in a protest rally by the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the Jewish Leadership Council in Parliament Square last month.

Writing in the Evening Standard ahead of a meeting with the leaders of both groups, Mr Corbyn said: "We have not done enough fully to get to grips with the problem, and for that the Jewish community and our own Jewish members deserve an apology."