Scotland politics

Gordon Brown says Jeremy Corbyn 'has to change'

Jeremy Corbyn Image copyright Palestinian embassy in Tunis/Facebook
Image caption Jeremy Corbyn was pictured at a wreath-laying ceremony in 2014

Gordon Brown says Jeremy Corbyn "has to change" to address concerns about anti-Semitism in the Labour Party.

The former prime minister said the issue was a "running sore" that had to be dealt with.

Critics say Labour has failed to endorse the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism in its entirety.

Mr Corbyn has also been criticised for attending a wreath-laying ceremony in Tunisia in 2014.

During an appearance at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, Mr Brown was asked if he thought Mr Corbyn was a fit and proper person to be prime minister.

He told the book festival audience that there was a "problem within the Labour Party with anti-Semitism" and insisted that "Jeremy Corbyn has got to change".

Mr Brown added: "He cannot sustain particularly what he is saying about the international agreement on what we do in our attitudes to both the Holocaust and to Israel.

"I predict to you that's going to change within a few weeks. I believe that it will change but even that will not be enough."

Mr Brown went on to say that Mr Corbyn and Labour needed to show by their actions rather than merely with words that they "understand the deep hurt that has been caused".

Image copyright Ivon Bartholomew
Image caption Gordon Brown was Labour prime minister between 2007 and 2010

He continued: "This cannot keep going on as a running sore and it's not because it's an embarrassment, it is because it is simply wrong.

"The persecution that has been suffered by the Jewish community must never be forgotten. It is something that has got to be remembered every time we see vicious actions and discrimination and prejudice in different communities around the world."

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Media captionCorbyn asked about Tunisia wreath-laying criticism

Mr Corbyn was criticised by Israel's PM Benjamin Netanyahu after it emerged he had been present when a wreath was laid in memory of some of those accused of the 1972 Munich terror attack.

Mr Corbyn said he had attended to take part in a ceremony honouring innocent victims of a 1985 Israeli air strike, and has refused to apologise.

He has also condemned the Munich attack, describing it as "appalling", but has said the killing of Palestinian protesters in Gaza by Israeli forces likewise deserves "unequivocal condemnation".

A spokesman for the Labour Party said its national executive committee was going to "re-open" consideration of the code of conduct at the root of the row, "in consultation with Jewish community organisations and groups".

He said: "Jeremy Corbyn has made clear that there is no place for anti-Semitism in the party, and that rooting it out and rebuilding trust and confidence among Jewish communities are priorities."