Jeremy Corbyn 'planning full climbdown' on Labour anti-Semitism definition

Posted On: 
16th August 2018

Jeremy Corbyn is planning a major climbdown over whether an internationally accepted definition of anti-Semitism should appear in the Labour code of conduct, it has been reported.

Jeremy Corbyn has resisted calls over the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism
Credit: 
PA Images

The Labour leader has so far resisted calls to back adopting the International Holocaust Memorial Alliance definition and all of its examples in full, amid anger from his backbenches.

But the party is gearing up to accept the entire set of guidelines as long as it can include extra clauses to ensure criticism of Israel is permitted, according to the Guardian.

Gordon Brown urges Jeremy Corbyn to tackle 'running sore' of Labour anti-Semitism

Jewish Labour members boycott anti-Semitism talks with party top brass

Labour MPs at 'breaking point' over anti-Semitism row, says Chuka Umunna

Labour reopened its consultation on the code after the decision by its National Executive Committee not to include four of the IHRA examples sparked fury among the Jewish community.

Recent reports suggested the leadership was prepared to accept three of those examples - but whether or not members could brand Israel a “racist endeavor” remained a sticking point.

The Guardian said the party was willing to accept the final example, provided it could find a way to navigate free speech issues - such as adding extra clauses to the code.

A source told the paper: “We want it resolved. Jeremy has said he is open to change, he is not pre-judging the consultation and that he has only raised one half of one example where there was difficulty.”

A pro-Corbyn MP said the leader would “just have to take one for the team”.

They added: “He could do it along with a big speech saying ‘on my watch, no one who legitimately criticises Israel will be punished’.”

A Labour source told PoliticsHome: "From hearing from a lot of MPs on this issue, it's much less about the specifics of what’s written in the code or the specifics of IHRA for them - it’s to do with perception and how it looks."

The party reportedly hopes to settle the issue before its annual conference at the end of September - and maybe at the next NEC meeting on 4 September, before a potentially damaging vote on the issue by MPs.

'RUNNING SORE'

A string of trade union bosses and Momentum chief Jon Lansman have been lobbying Labour to accept all of the IHRA examples.

Yesterday, former prime minister Gordon Brown became the latest figure to lash out at Mr Corbyn over the issue, urging the Labour boss to fix the “running sore” of the definition debate.

Responding to Mr Brown, a Labour spokesman said last night: “In recognition of the serious concerns expressed, Labour's National Executive Committee decided to re-open the development of the Code of Conduct, in consultation with Jewish community organisations and groups, in order to better address their concerns.

"Jeremy Corbyn has made clear that there is no place for antisemitism in the Party, and that rooting it out and rebuilding trust and confidence among Jewish communities are priorities."

A source noted that the decision over the code of conduct was a matter for the National Executive Committee and not the Labour leadership.