Anti-Semitism has been allowed to fester in the Labour Party, says council leader

Jeremy Corbyn is under pressure over anti-Semitism within Labour

Simon Cook, the Conservative leader of Canterbury City Council, says he stands “full square” behind Labour MP Rosie Duffield as she condemns anti-Semitism within her party.

The week has seen protests outside Parliament and increasing pressure on Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to take decisive action on tackling it.

Earlier this year it emerged that a Labour candidate for a seat on Peterborough council had posted a link to to a fake news article titled: “International Red Cross Report Confirms the Holocaust of Six Million Jews is a Hoax.”

Ms Duffield, elected as Canterbury and Whitstable’s first ever Labour MP, was among those who protested at Parliament.

Her action came as Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn admitted there had been 300 cases of anti-Semitism within the party referred since 2015.

Cllr Simon Cook: “Full square” behind city MP

Cllr Cook, who has led Canterbury City Council since 2015, said: “Rosie Duffield and I disagree on much, but I give her my whole-hearted support in tackling racism in the Labour Party.

“Together with many local residents, I was pleased to see Rosie join other Labour MPs protesting outside Parliament against the rise of anti-Semitism within the Labour Party.

“It is shameful that some bigots in the Labour movement have reacted to the concerns expressed by moderate MPs with aggressive bullying tactics.”

An open letter signed by Ms Duffield said Labour MPs “have been targeted with thousands of messages of hate and abuse after some dismissed the protest against antisemitism as a politically motivated smear”.

And the MP John Mann said dozens of Jewish members had left the Labour Party as a result of Mr Corbyn’s lack of decisive action on the issue.

Cllr Cook went on: “It is sad that these issues have been allowed to fester in the Labour Party and have been encouraged by some extremists around Jeremy Corbyn.

“We might disagree on tax, the economy and a host of domestic issues, but there has to be agreement between the parties that all communities must be involved and treated fairly as we debate the best way to make things better.

Canterbury and Whitstable MP Rosie Duffield

“There are some things that are above party politics and stamping out racism is one.

“I stand full square behind Rosie in calling out antisemitism and I hope Jeremy Corbyn addresses this problem in his party very soon, as racism has no place in our politics at any level.”

Ms Duffield was one of 40 Labour MPs to sign the open letter on anti-Semtism within the party.

It read: “We know in the last 24 hours our Jewish colleagues have been targeted with thousands of messages of hate and abuse after some dismissed the protest against anti-Semitism as a politically motivated ‘smear’.

“We will not be deterred from action to address these concerns by such threats.

“Those who seem intent on targeting the Jews who speak out rather than the scourge of anti-Semitism should heed the latest words from Jeremy Corbyn, whose honour they claim to be defending.”

Mr Corbyn had said: “I recognise that anti-Semitism has surfaced within the Labour Party, and has too often been dismissed as simply a matter of a few bad apples.

“This has caused pain and hurt to Jewish members of our party and to the wider Jewish community in Britain. I am sincerely sorry for the pain which has been caused, and pledge to redouble my efforts to bring this anxiety to an end.”


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