Labour MP brands Corbyn a 'defender of extremists' as anti-Semitism row deepens

Labour MP brands Corbyn a 'defender of extremists' as anti-Semitism row deepens

Labour MP brands Corbyn a 'defender of extremists' as anti-Semitism row deepens

Labour's shadow chancellor and strategist-in-chief John McDonnell was touring the airwaves this week offering assurances that Margaret Hodge would not be "disciplined" for her denunciation of Jeremy Corbyn.

Ian Austin, the son of adoptive Jewish parents who lost relatives in the Holocaust, said the row over the party's anti-Semitism code has left him "deeply ashamed".

Reports suggest Mr Austin told Mr Lavery the NEC's decision earlier that day that not to adopt the internationally recognised definition of anti-Semitism in its code of conduct was 'disgraceful'.

A Labour MP has accused party leader Jeremy Corbyn of "supporting and defending" extremists and anti-Semites. "That I'm so anxious about his plans to nationalise the railways or something that I would invent all this stuff?"

"It's actually the other way around".

"Labour's code of conduct on anti-Semitism adopts the IHRA definition and expands on and contextualises its examples to produce robust, legally-sound guidelines that a political party can apply to disciplinary cases", he said.

A number of senior Labour MSPs have now urged the party to adopt the global definition in full and called on Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard to speak out on the issue.

Stephen Pollard, editor of the Jewish Chronicle, told Sky News that the front pages - on papers that normally have an intense rivalry - were unique and had been prompted by Labour's anti-Semitism crisis.

Mr Austin, who has represented the West Midlands seat since 2005, said allegations he had "screamed abuse" at chairman Ian Lavery, sparking the disciplinary proceedings, were false, but admitted there had been a "heated discussion".

After it emerged Mr Austin was being investigated, a Labour Party spokesperson said it takes "all complaints seriously" and will be fully investigated.

"In my 26 years as a party member I have never before seen a party response that says in effect "unless someone complains, we will take no action against racist or anti-Semitic behaviour", he said.

In another parallel with Ms Hodge, whose grandmother and uncle were Holocaust victims, Mr Austin's grandmother and her sisters were murdered in a concentration camp by the Nazis.

The three newspapers' stance gained support from some politicians within the Labour Party.

But, a party spokesman added the NEC had "agreed to re-open the development of the code, in consultation with Jewish community organisations and groups, in order to better reflect their views".

A trio of U.K-based Jewish newspapers on Thursday claimed a Labour government led by Jeremy Corbyn would pose an "existential threat" to Jews in the country.

He said: "We understand the strong concerns raised in the Jewish community and are seeking to engage with communal organizations to build trust and confidence in our party".

"We do so because the party that was, until recently, the natural home for our community has seen its values and integrity eroded by Corbynite contempt for Jews and Israel", the editorial read.

The NEC adopted the definition given by the IHRA but not all of the 11 accompanying examples, arguing that under one of them legitimate criticism of Israel could be deemed antisemitic.

The prime minister demanded Mr Corbyn's party scrap their document and instead sign up to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism in full.

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