Anti-Semitism: Corbyn leads 'emotional' shadow cabinet discussion

By Iain Watson
Political correspondent, BBC News

Image source, PA
Image caption, There are questions over how Baroness Chakrabarti's 2016 report has been implemented

At a meeting which was described as "emotional but not rancorous", Jeremy Corbyn told his shadow cabinet that he would instruct Labour's incoming general secretary Jennie Formby to make the implementation of measures to tackle anti-Semitism her priority.

The Labour leader led a one-hour discussion on anti-Semitism during which, the BBC understands, two shadow ministers complained that the party had been slow to implement Baroness Chakrabarti's report into anti-Semitism, completed in 2016.

As shadow attorney general, she attended the meeting and was one of a number of party spokespeople to share her own experience of discrimination.

Also speaking at the meeting, Shadow Brexit Secretary Sir Keir Starmer said it was the responsibility of Labour's top team to address the problem.

But, off the record, party insiders reacted angrily to the suggestion that they had been dragging their feet over the Chakrabarti recommendations.

They claimed all practical proposals, apart from the appointment of an in-house lawyer, had been carried out - and accused the leadership itself of being reluctant to suspend some members accused of anti-Semitism.

Moves to appoint party officers in every region to look into breaches of the rules, they said, had been opposed by some on the left of the party who feared a purge.

One senior figure told the BBC "if the leadership think the problem of anti-Semitism is solved by how quickly you implement a report, they just don't get it".

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