Jeremy Corbyn: Labour conference will vote on tougher anti-Semitism rules

Posted On: 
19th September 2016

Labour conference will vote on a proposal to toughen up the rules on racism and anti-Semitism in the party, Jeremy Corbyn has said.

Jeremy Corbyn and Owen Smith appeared at a Jewish Labour leadership hustings last night
Credit: 
PA Images

An MP and a number of activists – including former London mayor Ken Livingstone – have been suspended on anti-Semitism allegations.

New rules proposed by the Jewish Labour Movement suggest making racism and anti-Semitism a serious offence akin to supporting another political party.

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The rules will have to be passed by Labour's ruling National Executive Committee on Tuesday before they can be voted on at Labour conference, which starts this weekend.

Speaking at a Jewish Labour leadership hustings last night, Labour leader Mr Corbyn said: "Yes, it will be going to conference.”

He added: “It follows on from the general anti-racism statement I proposed to the national executive some months ago, which was actually unanimously agreed by the NEC."

And he said: "There's something really sad that we're the only political party that's ever had a statement of general anti-racism.”

His rival for the leadership, Owen Smith, also backed passing the proposed rule change, arguing: "I felt it very sharply that we have previously treated supporting an alternative party as a more serious offence than articulating anti-Semitic or other racist or homophobic, for example, views. That cannot be right."

A review conducted by civil liberties campaigner Shami Chakrabarti cleared the Labour party of anti-Semitism, although some critics branded it a whitewash.

Ms Chakrabarti also came under fire after it emerged Mr Corbyn had offered her a seat in the House of Lords, which she accepted.

'GNAWING OUR INSIDES'

Elsewhere at last night's event Mr Smith accused Mr Corbyn of offering a “mealy mouthed and weak” response to issues of anti-Semitism within the party.

He said the “precipitous drop-off of support" for the party from the Jewish community over the past year "should be gnawing at our insides”.

Both candidates refused to label themselves Zionists but they agreed that Israel had a right to exist and to self determination.

But they clashed over the boycotting of Israeli goods, with Mr Corbyn backing boycotts of settlement goods, but Mr Smith arguing boycotts do not work.

The hustings was the last of the Labour leadership contest, the winner of which will be announced on Saturday.