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Liberal Democrats attack Corbyn and Labour's stance on anti-Semitism

Luciana Berger and Chuka Umunna launched a scathing attack on Labour. Credit: PA

Labour has a "serious problem with racism" and the "party's leadership protects people with anti-Semitic views," former Labour-turned-Liberal Democrat candidates have said.

Luciana Berger launched a scathing attack on Jeremy Corbyn during her new party's unveiling of equality and human rights policy.

Ms Berger, who herself is Jewish, said her former party was "institutionally anti-Semitic", said Mr Corbyn had "indulged in anti-Semitic activity".

The candidate for Finchley and Golders Green said: "By his actions, and by the platforms he's shared, and the people he has invited, and the things that he has done, and the things that he hasn't done, he's indulged in anti-Semitic activity."

Insisting Labour has a "serious racist problem", Ms Berger said: "Jeremy Corbyn and his team have created a party machine which protects and normalises anti-Semitic ideas and individuals."

  • Rebecca Barry provides an update from the Liberal Democrats policy announcement

Ms Berger said she felt a sense of relief that she no longer has to be escorted to party events, as she had done while a Labour MP.

Actor Eddie Marsan, who introduced Ms Berger and Chuka Umunna before they were due to speak, said the Labour leadership was either "ignorant or racist".

He criticised Mr Corbyn's previous actions on dealing with anti-Semitism.

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Lib Dem foreign affairs spokesman, and fellow ex-Labour MP, Chuka Umunna said the election was a battle between liberalism and the "forces of reaction".

He took aim at Tory "nationalism" and criticised remarks previously made by the prime minister's about black people and Muslim women.

The Liberal Democrats said they had a vision for the UK where "everyone's rights and liberties are protected, and our diversity celebrated".

Under their plans, they would:

  • Provide funding for protective security measures to places of worship, schools and community centres that are "vulnerable to hate crime and terror attacks".
  • Aim to reduce the over-representation of people from BAME backgrounds throughout the criminal justice system.
  • Tackle the rise in hate crime
  • Complete introduction of equal marriage

Ms Berger said: "Discrimination has no place in 21st century Britain. Unfortunately this is not the reality for too many in the UK.

"Jeremy Corbyn has inexcusably failed to root out anti-Semitism in the Labour Party and has betrayed the values of equality and anti-racism against all. The Tories are encouraging ugly nationalism."

Mr Umunna, said: "You can take on the nasty, ugly nationalism we are seeing around the world and in our country, or you can turn a blind eye to it like Labour and the Conservatives.

"The Liberal Democrats are clear - we will take it on because it is the patriotic and the right thing to do.

"We will give no quarter in our defence of the liberal, progressive values of Britain."