General election 2019: No apology from Jeremy Corbyn over Labour anti-Semitism claims

Lord Kerslake is the former head of the civil service and has been advising the Labour Party

Lord Kerslake is the former head of the civil service and has been advising the Labour Party

The claim by Britain's Chief Rabbi that Jeremy Corbyn's failure to tackle anti-Semitism made him unfit for high office is "unhelpful to the Jewish community" and damaging to community relations, a former Yorkshire MEP claimed today.

May 2016, he accused Labour of "political posturing and empty promises" and in August 2016, he accused the Labour leader of making "offensive" comments at the launch of Shami Chakrabarti's report into antisemitism in the party.

Alfred Dubs, who escaped from the Nazis in Czechoslovakia as a child in 1939, said the rabbi had gone a bit far.

"The way in which the leadership has dealt with anti-Jewish racism is incompatible with the British values of which we are so proud - of dignity and respect for all people".

Writing in The Times newspaper, Ephraim Mirvis said "British Jews are gripped by anxiety" at the prospect of Labour forming the next government, following the general election on December 12.

In his speech, Mr Corbyn described anti-Semitism as "an evil within our society" which had led to the Holocaust.

Later, in response to journalists' questions, he said that as party leader he had introduced new disciplinary procedures which meant those who committed anti-Semitic acts were "brought to book" and, if necessary, expelled from the party or suspended. The party rejected the chief rabbi's criticism.

"Be absolutely clear of this assurance from me - no community will be at risk because of their identity, their faith, their ethnicity or their language", he said.

"We support the chief rabbi in his statement condemning Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour party and thank him for his courage and support". He criticized the party for hounding out lawmakers and other party staffers for challenging antisemitism, and said it's a "mendacious fiction" that the party has investigated every single case of anti-Jewish racism.

In a Times article, Ephraim Mirvis blamed Jeremy Corbyn for being "complicit in prejudice" and "unfit for office".

The most senior clergyman in the Church of England, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said the country must take Mirvis's words seriously.

Allies of Mr Corbyn acknowledged that Mr Mirvis had raised a serious issue, but insisted the numbers of those involved represented a "tiny fraction" of the party's membership.

"British Jews are acutely anxious about the proliferation of anti-Semitism in the official party of opposition".

'When December 12 arrives, I ask every person to vote with their judgment of appropriate and unsuitable.

Chancellor Sajid Javid, said he was "very saddened" by the Chief Rabbi's comments.

"I've never heard anything like it and clearly it is a failure of leadership on the part of the Labour leader that he has not been able to stamp out this virus in the Labour Party", he said.

"It's an unprecedented intervention in a general election", Conservative Cabinet minister Michael Gove told Talk Radio on Tuesday.

Latest News