John McDonnell admits he worries Labour's anti-semitism crisis could cost the party the election

Posted On: 
8th December 2019

John McDonnell has admitted he is "worried" that his party's handling of anti-semitism could play a role in costing them the election.

John McDonnell and Jeremy Corbyn have both apologised for anti-semitism within the Labour party
Credit: 
PA

The Shadow Chancellor issued another apology to the Jewish community for his party's handling of anti-semitism just days before voters head to the polls.

Criticism of the party’s efforts to tackle the problem have been voiced throughout the general election campaign, including outspoken interventions from the Chief Rabbi and several former Labour ministers.

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And on Sunday a leaked dossier appearing to show a backlog of anit-semitism complaints within the party was revealed by the Sunday Times.

Asked on BBC’s Andrew Marr Show that if the anti-semitism crisis could hurt his party's electoral chances, Mr McDonnell said: “I worry that this has had its effect.

“We’ve done everything I think we can do, we’ve apologised to the Jewish community and I repeat that. We’ve always got to learn lessons of course we have, all political parties.

“It isn’t just the Labour party, I want us to be a shining model. I apologise to the Jewish community for the suffering we’ve inflicted on them. 

“I say to them we’re doing everything possible, we’re going to learn more lessons and we want to be the shining example of anti-racism that the Labour party should be.”

According to the Sunday Times investigation, leaked documents showed some cases remaining unresolved months or years after they were raised.

And on Thursday, a leaked dossier showed 70 past and present Labour staffers have given evidence to the Equalities and Human Rights Commission’s anti-semitism probe, as part of the Jewish Labour Movement’s (JLM) submission to the watchdog.

Asked about the JLM’s claim that 136 cases were still to be dealt with by the party in October, Mr McDonnell said that was “well out of date” adding that the number was “well below that”. 

And asked if he trusted the JLM, Mr McDonnell said: “Of course I respect them. The report they produced, my understanding of this is well out of date.

“The individuals they’ve named, we’ve kicked out that’s the first thing, the numbers they’re talking about we’ve dealt with them quite a significant amount.”

He added: “I came on this programme originally, and I said I was angry because we weren’t quick enough or ruthless enough.

“Our new procedures are dealing with that and that report today doesn’t take that into account.”

It comes after Labour leader Mr Corbyn apologised for the anti-semitism within his party during an ITV This Morning interview last week.

"Obviously I'm very sorry for everything that's happened but I want to make this clear, I am dealing with it. I have dealt with it,” he said. 
 
"Other parties are also affected by anti-semitism. Candidates have been withdrawn by the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives and by us because we do not accept it in any form whatsoever."