Jeremy Corbyn hits back at Home Affairs Committee over anti-Semitism report
Jeremy Corbyn has accused a cross-party committee of MPs of bias after a report said he had failed to tackle anti-Semitism in the Labour party.
The Labour leader said the Home Affairs Committee's findings focused too heavily on his party, when three-quarters of anti-Semitic incidents are carried out by the far-right.
Mr Corbyn said: "The report’s political framing and disproportionate emphasis on Labour risks undermining the positive and welcome recommendations made in it."
But Labour MPs urged Mr Corbyn not to dismiss the findings, while the acting chair of the committe accused him of being "in denial".
In their report, the committee said Mr Corbyn’s failure to stamp out anti-Semitism within Labour has helped create a “safe space” for hostility towards Jews.
They also criticised Baroness Chakrabarti - who carried out a report into anti-Semitism in Labour on behalf of Mr Corbyn - for failing to provide answers about when she was first offered a peerage by him.
Their report said: "While the Labour leader has a proud record of campaigning against many types of racism, based on the evidence we have received, we are not persuaded that he fully appreciates the distinct nature of post-Second World War anti-Semitism.
"We believe that his lack of consistent leadership on this issue, and his reluctance to separate anti-Semitism from other forms of racism, has created what some have referred to as a ‘safe space’ for those with vile attitudes towards Jewish people.”
The report added: “The failure of the Labour party to deal consistently and effectively with anti-Semitic incidents in recent years risks lending force to allegations that elements of the Labour movement are institutionally anti-Semitic."
But in a strongly-worded response, Mr Corbyn said the committee had failed to take account of the work the Labour party had done to tackle anti-Semitism.
He said: "The committee heard evidence from too narrow a pool of opinion, and its then-chair rejected both Chakrabarti’s and the Jewish Labour Movement’s requests to appear and give evidence before it. Not a single woman was called to give oral evidence in public, and the report violates natural justice by criticising individuals without giving them a right to be heard.
"The report’s political framing and disproportionate emphasis on Labour risks undermining the positive and welcome recommendations made in it.
"Although the Committee heard evidence that 75% of anti-Semitic incidents come from far right sources, and the report states there is no reliable evidence to suggest anti-Semitism is greater in Labour than other parties, much of the report focuses on the Labour party."
He added: "Under my leadership, Labour has taken greater action against anti-Semitism than any other party, and will implement the measures recommended by the Chakrabarti report to ensure Labour is a welcoming environment for members of all our communities."
But Tory MP Tim Loughton, the acting chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, accused Mr Corbyn of being "in denial".
He told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show: "You cannot deny that the spate of anti-Semitic incidents, allegations made against Labour party members and many elected members has raised the whole profile of this issue.
"And it was because of that that Jeremy Corbyn commissioned the so-called independent Chakrabarti report which we feel wasn’t worth the paper it was written on and he still seems to be in denial about the nature and the extent of the problem he’s got within his own party."