Labour MPs demand Jeremy Corbyn answers questions over anti-semitic mural
Labour MPs have called on Jeremy Corbyn to appear before them tomorrow to answer questions over his defence of an anti-semitic mural.
The Labour leader has expressed "regret" that he "did not look more closely" at the work by artist Kalen Ockerman, which featured a group of elderly Jewish men playing Monopoly on the backs of emaciated bodies.
Luciana Berger, the Labour MP who first raised the issue, has called for Mr Corbyn to appear at tomorrow's meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party to explain himself.
She criticised the statements issued so far both by a spokesman for the leader and later by Mr Corbyn himself.
“I want to hear from the leader on Monday, because his two responses so far have been wholly inadequate," she said.
Labour sources have told the Observer the veteran leftwinger is not due to attend tomorrow's meeting and will not do so - a stance that threatens to inflame tensions with his own MPs.
Fellow Labour MPs Angela Smith and Ian Austin have also torn into Mr Corbyn.
“It is horrifying that anyone in our party – never mind the leader – should be able to condone antisemitism without facing consequences," Ms Smith said.
“And rather than facing up, Jeremy Corbyn has chosen to dissemble to defend himself. It is simply not credible to suggest that a man with his knowledge of foreign affairs did not recognise those images for what they were."
Mr Austin - who has been a fierce critic of Mr Corbyn's leadership - added: "He clearly doesn't understand the offence this will cause not just to the Jewish community but to many other people as well and no one will be satisfied by his explanation."
Another unnamed female backbencher hit out over the combination of the mural row with the sacking of Owen Smith from the shadow cabinet.
“He has managed to combine antisemitism with an attack on Remainers in one weekend," she told the Observer.
"This is about our identity as a progressive, tolerant, pro-European party. I am in complete despair.”