Jeremy Corbyn admits concerns about anti-Semitism in Labour were 'not exaggerated'

Jeremy Corbyn has responded to his suspension with a statement. Credit: PA

Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has broken his silence over his suspension from the party, admitting concerns about anti-Semitism were not "exaggerated", as he had originally claimed in a statement that resulted in him having the Labour whip removed last month.

Mr Corbyn made an appeal to the party for the situation to be "resolved as quickly as possible".

He was suspended over his reaction to a damning Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) report, which found the party, under his leadership was "responsible for unlawful acts" of anti-Semitic discrimination and harassment.

But in his statement responding to the report Mr Corbyn said the problem had been "dramatically overstated for political reasons by our opponents inside and outside the party".

Clarifying his words, he wrote on his Facebook page: "To be clear, concerns about anti-Semitism are neither 'exaggerated' nor 'overstated'.

"The point I wished to make was that the vast majority of Labour Party members were and remain committed anti-racists deeply opposed to antisemitism."

The veteran MP's statement continued: "I’m grateful to the many thousands of Labour party members, trade unionists, and supporters in Britain and around the world, who have offered their solidarity.

"I hope this matter is resolved as quickly as possible, so that the party can work together to root out antisemitism and unite to oppose and defeat this deeply damaging Conservative government."

Mr Corbyn, who has been an MP for Islington North since 1983, was suspended less than a year after launching his bid to become prime minister at the 2019 general election.

At the time he said he had been trying to get the whip back, writing: "I'll be appealing to the party and those who made this decision to kindly think again."

The EHRC report into anti-Semitism said "specific examples of harassment, discrimination and political interference" were found within the Labour Party under Mr Corbyn's leadership.

It added how there was "a lack of leadership within the Labour Party on these issues", which it said was "hard to reconcile with its stated commitment to a zero-tolerance approach to anti-Semitism".

After Mr Corbyn was suspended, his replacement as leader, Sir Keir Starmer defended the decision to reprimand his predecessor.

He said it was the "right" decision to suspend him, after he made promised when taking over the party that there would be a zero-tolerance approach to anti-Semitism when he took over.

Asked if there was a way for Mr Corbyn to return, he said: “It’s not my process it’s the party’s process – and what I mustn’t do is express a view on what should happen in the case.”

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