John Mann says Labour’s existence under threat as MPs prepare for anti-Semitism demo

Posted On: 
26th March 2018

John Mann has said Labour risks becoming “rotten to the core” as MPs prepare to join a protest against the party's handling of anti-Semitism allegations.

John Mann urged Jeremy Corbyn to 'take a proper lead' in expelling antisemites

The Bassetlaw MP said Labour had to “make a song and dance” about expelling members who stood accused of expressing anti-Semitic views and called on Jeremy Corbyn to “take a proper lead”.

It follows an extraordinary joint statement from the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the Jewish Leadership Council, which accuses the Labour leader of doing nothing to tackle the problem, adding that "enough is enough".

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PoliticsHome understands Mr Corbyn is seeking a meeting with both groups, however the Jewish Leadership Council’s Jonathan Goldstein told the Today programme this morning that neither group had heard from the Labour leader’s office.

The groups are due to stage a protest outside Parliament this evening, where they will lobby and be joined by a host of senior Labour MPs, including Mr Mann.

It comes ahead of a Parliamentary Labour Party meeting due to take place shortly after, which Mr Corbyn is not expected to attend.

The MP said weeding out anti-Semitism from within the party “will take time”, but said Mr Corbyn would “rue the day” if he did not.

“The leader of the Labour party has to be the person that takes the lead in fighting discrimination in this country and if you can’t do it in your own party, against racists in your own party, what else can you do,?” he told the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme.

“Our very existence as a party is at threat with this, and it will take time, if this buries away inside the party in terms of turning us rotten to the core, but that’s what happens if you fail to deal with racism.

“He has failed to get rid of these people, I’m calling on him to take a proper lead and it’s a starting point, but it’s a very big starting point, throw them out, throw them out immediately and throw them out very publicly, and if he doesn’t he will come to rue the day.”

A number of high-profile Labour MPs have also pledged their attendance at today's protest in Parliament Square, including Chuka Umunna, Yvette Cooper, Wes Streeting and Liz Kendall.

Mr Umunna last night said it was about time Labour “lived up” to its values, adding that every member should be “deeply ashamed” of how the issue had been handled by the party.