Daily Mail


Anti-Semitism at conference BBC star intimidate­d

- By Jason Groves, Daniel Martin and Katherine Rushton

LABOUR was branded the ‘new nasty party’ last night after an outbreak of intimidati­on and anti-Semitism at its annual conference. Jeremy Corbyn was urged to act after activists applauded panellists at a fringe meeting who likened supporters of Israel to Nazis.

One speaker even suggested Labour should be free to debate whether the Holocaust had happened.

Mr Corbyn was also facing a row about intimidati­on of Laura Kuenssberg. The BBC’s political editor has been given a bodyguard following threats from Leftwinger­s at the conference.

A Labour shadow minister yesterday claimed using an ex-soldier for protection was a ‘ploy’ to demonise hardliners.

Chris Williamson, who is a close ally of Mr Corbyn, refused to say whether party members who abused Miss Kuenssberg

be expelled. And he questioned whether anyone in Labour was involved, saying: ‘People join the Labour Party because they are caring individual­s. They are not the sort of people that indulge in intimidati­on and violence.’

But Andrew Percy, a former Tory minister who has also been the target of anti-Semitic abuse, last night described Labour as the ‘new nasty party’. He said Labour appeared to be in the grip of a ‘frightenin­g’ cult.

‘What we are seeing is really dangerous,’ he added. ‘The idea that the political editor of the BBC would need a bodyguard to attend the conference of the official opposition should appal all decent people in politics. The kind of anti-Semitic abuse we are seeing is also something that has not been part of our political system until the past couple of years.

‘There is a cult of personalit­y around Jeremy Corbyn that will not allow any questionin­g of him or his views.

‘It is deeply sinister, nasty and quite frightenin­g. These people are genuinely extreme.’

Sheryll Murray, a Tory MP who had swastikas daubed on her general election posters, said: ‘From what we’ve seen today at the Labour conference, it feels like things are getting worse rather than better.

‘I worry it’s putting good people off from working in politics. It’s hardly the kinder, gentler politics that Jeremy Corbyn promised.’

Yesterday’s events horrified moderate Labour MPs. Former deputy leader Harriet Harman urged Mr Corbyn to condemn the abuse of Miss Kuenssberg.

In a message on Twitter she said: ‘Is this from the Left? If it is, it’s even worse as the Left is supposed to be for equality and women’s rights and online trolls is about silencing women.’

Fellow Labour MP Jess Phillips said: ‘Let’s clean up our act please. Women’s safety is the reason we champion the Uber action for example. Let’s walk the walk.’

Senior Labour MPs last night urged Mr Corbyn to take action against rising antiSemiti­sm in the party.

John Cryer, who is chairman of the Parliament­ary Labour Party, said some social media postings from supporters were ‘redolent of the 1930s’ and ‘made your hair stand on end’. Labour denies building a personal-

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