UK Politics

Labour 'doesn't tolerate anti-Semitism', says Jeremy Corbyn

Jeremy Corbyn Image copyright PA

It is "totally fallacious" to suggest that Labour tolerates anti-Semitism, leader Jeremy Corbyn has said.

It comes after Labour peer Lord Levy threatened to quit the party unless Mr Corbyn sent a "clear message" that it would not allow anti-Semitism.

Mr Corbyn said he had always condemned all forms of racism and any complaints of anti-Semitism in the party would be properly investigated.

Labour has been hit by several claims of anti-Semitism recently.

Last week, party member Vicki Kirby was suspended for a second time over anti-Semitic tweets. A Labour spokeswoman said Ms Kirby, vice chair of the Woking constituency party, was being investigated.

Allegations relating to Oxford University Labour Club are also being investigated.

'Properly investigated'

Mr Corbyn told Sky News: "The idea that somehow or other there is a tolerance of any form of racism is wholly and totally fallacious."

He said he was "disappointed" at the comments made by Lord Levy, who on Sunday said "it is now up to the leadership to make sure that there is a clear and unequivocal message out there that anti-Semitism in any form will not be tolerated".

Lord Levy had said: "If they don't make that clear then I will start to question myself and actually question my being a Labour peer and a proud member of the Labour party."

But Mr Corbyn said the peer "clearly hasn't been listening to the seven times since I became leader I have absolutely condemned anti-Semitism, I have condemned Islamophobia, I have condemned any form of racism anywhere within our society".

"It is absolutely something I totally, passionately believe in," he added and said his views were understood throughout the party.

The Labour leader added: "We do take action in the very, very, very small number of cases where anything happens and if we hear any allegations they are properly and thoroughly investigated."

Ms Kirby was first suspended in 2014 for making anti-Semitic comments but later reinstated. She was forced to stand down as an election candidate after tweets including one suggesting Hitler was a "Zionist God".

The Parliamentary Labour Party is also carrying out an investigation into allegations of anti-Semitism in the Oxford University Labour Club after it voted to support Israel Apartheid Week.

Oxford University Labour Club has said previously in a statement: "We are horrified at and whole-heartedly condemn anti-Semitic behaviour in all its forms."

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