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  1. ITV Report

Jeremy Corbyn dodges questions about alleged anti-Semitism in Labour Party

Jeremy Corbyn on the by-election campaign trail in Peterborough. Credit: PA

Jeremy Corbyn has refused to answer questions about the ongoing controversy surrounding alleged anti-Semitism in the Labour party.

Mr Corbyn - on the by-election campaign trail in Peterborough - did not address claims put to him by ITV News that he was "burying his head in the sand" over the issue as he arrived at an event in the city.

It was the first time the Labour leader had been seen since Pete Willsman, a senior Labour figure, was apparently caught on tape claiming anti-Semitism has been "whipped up" by the Israeli embassy working within the party.

After addressing supporters, Mr Corbyn was ushered into a waiting vehicle - again declining questions from ITV News about the row and whether Mr Willsman would be kicked out of the party.

Mr Corbyn was heard to say to waiting journalists: "It's good of you to come here and report on the by-election."

A party supporter said as she walked past: "The anti-Semitism stuff - it's all made up."

Mr Willsman was re-elected to Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC) last year, despite having been recorded claiming Jewish "Trump fanatics" were "making up" anti-Semitism claims.

In a recording obtained by LBC on Friday, a man said to be Mr Willsman talks about how people will "move heaven and earth" to "avoid paying taxes", before claiming Israeli agents are at work within the party.

  • Video report by ITV News Political Correspondent Libby Weiner

On the recording, a man is heard saying: "One of these things about anti-Semitism is they will use anything to whip people up - they will use anything, any lies, it’s all total lies, they just whip it up.

"This is off the record, it’s almost certain who is behind all this anti-Semitism against Jeremy, almost certainly it’s the Israeli embassy.

"Yeah, because they caught somebody in the Labour Party and it turns out they were an agent of the embassy."

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A Labour Party spokeswoman confirmed on Friday that Mr Willsman had been suspended and an investigation would be launched into the alleged comments.

She added: "The Labour Party takes all complaints of anti-Semitism extremely seriously and we are committed to challenging and campaigning against it in all its forms."