Owen Smith: Jeremy Corbyn's team are encouraging hard-left entryism into the Labour party

Posted On: 
8th September 2016

Owen Smith has accused Jeremy Corbyn's closest aides of encouraging members of hard-left groups to join Labour in order to back his leadership campaign.

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He said the activists - who he claimed were often from groups which had been banned by Labour - were bringing "anti-Zionist, anti-imperialist, anti-Israel" attitudes into the party.

The former Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary made the incendiary claims during a head-to-head debate with Mr Corbyn on the BBC's Question Time show.

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Mr Smith said: "Under Jeremy's leadership, we've seen people coming into the Labour party from the hard-left of politics people who are bringing into our party anti-Semitic attitudes and that cannot be acceptable,

"There are people on the far left of the Labour party who are flooding in to our party and that's their word, not mine.The Alliance of Workers Liberty only a couple of weeks ago said 'let's flood into the Labour party'.

"Just the other day I saw a tweet purporting to be from Jeremy's team to members of a hard-left group saying 'you're welcome to come to Jeremy's rallies, just leave the flags and banners at home'. And the reason for that is we've seen some of those flags and banners at some of Jeremy's rallies and unfortunately some of those people are bringing in attitudes to our party from the hard-left that I don't think is welcome."

"There are people who have come from the AWL and the SWP (Socialist Workers Party) and some of the other left-wing groups which have either not been part of the Labour party or have been proscribed by the Labour party and some of those people are advocating joining the Labour party in order to support Jeremy and in order to control the Labour party. Some of the people around Jeremy are absolutely encouraging it, of that there is no doubt."

Mr Corbyn rejected the accusations and insisted he had fought against all forms of racism all his life.

He said: "We are very clear that we are all opposed to anti-Semitism and any form of racism in our society. That's the very core of what our party is about."