Calls for Labour to expel 'loud-mouthed bully' Peter Willsman over 'sickening' rant about Jews

Jewish leaders have called for Labour to expel a member of its ruling body over a "disgusting rant" about Jews.

Peter Willsman was recorded calling some members of the Jewish community "Trump fanatics" and suggested they were "making up" problems about anti-Semitism in the party.

Labour deputy leader Tom Watson described the National Executive Committee member as a "loud-mouthed bully", while Jewish Labour Movement chairwoman Luciana Berger said the comments were "sickening."

Ms Berger told the Jewish Chronicle that Labour should suspend Mr Willsman and conduct a "formal investigation."

She wrote on Twitter: "Blaming any other minority group wldn’t be tolerated – why is the Jewish community treated this way?"

Labour Movement chairwoman Luciana Berger (left) said the comments were Credit: PA

The Board of Deputies of British Jews, made up of almost 300 deputies directly elected by synagogues and community organisations, said Labour had let Mr Willsman off lightly by not taking disciplinary action against him.

President Marie van der Zyl questioned whether Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn had witnessed the outburst at a meeting of the NEC.

And she pointed to the swift move to take disciplinary action against Labour MPs Dame Margaret Hodge and Ian Austin over their reaction to the handling of anti-Semitism in the party.

In a series of tweets, she said: "Was Jeremy Corbyn there to hear Willsman?"

In the clip acquired by the Jewish Chronicle, Mr Willsman can be heard saying with a raised voice: "Some of these people in the Jewish community support Trump – they are Trump fanatics and all the rest of it.

"So I am not going to be lectured to by Trump fanatics making up information without any evidence at all.

"So I think we should ask the 70 rabbis 'Where is your evidence of severe and widespread anti-Semitism in this party?"

Mr Willsman, whose position on the NEC is up for re-election over the summer, said: "I deeply apologise for any offence caused to those present and those to whom my remarks were reported."

"Not all of what I said has been accurately reported," he told the BBC.

"But I accept that what I did say, and the way I said it, fell short of the requirement, which I accept, for discussions of contentious issues to be conducted in a fully civil and respectful way."

Labour said it did not comment on individual cases.