Jeremy Corbyn again refuses to apologise to Jews as frontbencher attacks media for asking about anti-semitism
Jeremy Corbyn once again refused to apologise to the Jewish community over Labour’s anti-semitism crisis as a senior shadow Cabinet minister attacked a journalist for asking him to.
The leader of the opposition said he “made it very clear anti-semitism is completely wrong within our society”, but would not say sorry after he was strongly criticised by the Chief Rabbi earlier this week.
And Barry Gardiner, his Shadow International Trade Secretary, accused a reporter of simply looking for “an opportune moment to get a dig in” with her question.
Mr Corbyn was speaking to the press in London after revealing 451 pages of previously redacted documents which he said proved the NHS is “up for sale” in UK-US trade talks.
Afterwards he was asked by several reporters to apologise over anti-semitism after he failed to do so four times in an interview with the BBC on Tuesday night.
But Mr Gardiner interrupted ITV's Libby Wiener as she posed the question, saying: “And Libby do you have a question about the issue that we're actually discussing today or was that an opportune moment to get a dig in about something else?”
When Ms Wiener said it was not “a dig” but a serious matter, the Labour frontbencher replied: “It’s very serious indeed but we're here today to discuss the NHS and the trade deal, and I thought as a journalist attending this event you might have a question about that issue because I’m sure you'll agree that is also something of real importance.”
When Ms Wiener said she agreed, Mr Gardiner interrupted again to say: “Good. So do you have a question?"
Mr Corbyn eventually answered, saying: “I’ve made it very clear anti-semitism is completely wrong within our society.
“Our party made that clear when I was elected leader, and after that, that anti-semitism is unacceptable in any form in our party or our society.
“And indeed did offer its sympathies and apologies to those that have suffered.”
He added: “Abuse of a Jewish family on a train is vile and wrong. Abuse of a Muslim woman walking down the street is vile and wrong.
“None of it is acceptable, and none of it will ever be acceptable either within our party or by a government that I would be proud to lead.
“That would be the most anti-racist government you’ve ever seen because that’s what I’ve spent my whole life doing; fighting against racism, and I will die fighting against racism in any form.”