Theresa May hits out at Jeremy Corbyn over anti-Semitism in Labour

Posted On: 
19th October 2016

Theresa May has told Jeremy Corbyn to do more to crack down on anti-Semitism in Labour.

Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn faced off at PMQs today
Credit: 
PA Images

The Prime Minister said the Leader of the Opposition needed to “think very carefully” about the "environment" cultivated in his party, after a committee of MPs decried his failure to stamp out anti-Semitism.

In a report published on Sunday, the Home Affairs Select Committee said Mr Corbyn’s inaction had inadvertently helped create a “safe space” for hostility towards Jews.

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It said Labour had shown a “demonstrable incompetence” in tackling the issue under his leadership and “risks lending force to allegations that elements of the Labour movement are institutionally anti-Semitic”.

At Prime Minister’s Questions today Mrs May said the Commons should “send a very clear message that we will not tolerate anti-Semitism” after figures showed a rise in anti-Semitic incidents.

“I have been concerned about the rise that we have seen in the number of incidents of anti-Semitism in this country,” she added.

“I think we should very clearly ensure that those incidents of anti-Semitism are properly investigated and dealt with, and give that clear message that we will not tolerate it."

Turning to Mr Corbyn, she said: “But that does have to be every single political party in this chamber…

“Given the report of the select committee of this House about anti-Semitism and the approach to anti-Semitism in the Labour party, he needs to think very carefully about the environment that is being created in the Labour party in relation to anti-Semitism.”

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.

He said after its release: "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 committee accused him of being "in denial".

'ZIONIST LOBBY'

Elsewhere, MP Naz Shah, who was suspended by Labour for sharing anti-Semitic posts on Facebook, revealed she has been targeted by anti-Semites for expressing contrition.

She said people on social media tell her: “You’ve been broken; you’ve bowed down to a Zionist lobby.”

Asked if people with such views had been drawn to the Labour party, the Bradford West MP told BBC Radio 5Live:

“I’m not sure of that answer, and that’s the god honest truth. I’m not sure if people are drawn to the Labour party because of that, I’d like to think not, I really, really would.”