WATCH Barry Gardiner: Labour's anti-Semitism problem shows the party reflects British society
Labour's anti-Semitism problem shows that the party reflects British society, a Shadow Cabinet member has declared.
Barry Gardiner said he found it "shameful" that people with anti-Jewish views were Labour members, and insisted the party was committed to eradicating the problem.
However, he insisted that its existence showed that Labour's mass membership represented the views of many voters.
Appearing on Question Time, the Shadow International Trade Secretary said: "It should not have happened. I find it shameful as a member of the Labour party for 40-odd years that this is part of what's happening in my party.
"But the Labour party is now more than half a million strong in this country, it reflects not only the good policies and virtues and the values that Labour has always stood for, but of course there are people that reflect all walks of society and inevitably we reflect society in its bad points too. What we are absolutely committed to is eradicating it from the Labour party."
Jeremy Corbyn has insisted that Labour must have "zero tolerance" of anti-Semitism after the party was embroiled in a series of rows over the issue.
The row flared up again last month after it emerged the Labour leader had once defended an anti-Semitic mural that was being removed from a wall in east London.
That led to a mass demonstration in Parliament Square organised by Jewish groups and attended by more than 30 Labour MPs.