MP’s in­sti­tu­tional racism claim over­shad­ows Cor­byn mes­sage

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BY DANIEL SUGARMAN

JEREMY COR­BYN said Labour would tackle the “so­cial can­cer” of an­tisemitism in his Rosh Hashanah greet­ing.

But hours ear­lier a se­nior MP ac­cused the party of be­ing “in­sti­tu­tion­ally racist”.

The Labour leader ac­knowl­edged it was a “dif­fi­cult time” for Bri­tain’s Jews, and re­it­er­ated his prom­ise to tackle ha­tred within the party.

But the row over the Labour re­sponse to the is­sue and the di­vi­sions among the party’s MPs over his lead­er­ship con­tin­ued to sim­mer.

For­mer front­bencher Chuka Umunna made the claim that Labour was in­sti­tu­tion­ally racist as a re­sult of the an­tisemitism row.

Chuka Umunna He said it was a “very painful” ad­mis­sion, but vowed to stay on as a Labour mem­ber be­cause he felt it was bet­ter to “try to ar­gue and see change through in an or­gan­i­sa­tion” rather than “leave the field”.

He told Sky News’ So­phy Ridge On Sun­day: “If you look at the def­i­ni­tion of in­sti­tu­tional racism as out­lined by Sir Wil­liam Macpher­son in the Macpher­son Re­port and the Macpher­son In­quiry pro­duced the in­sti­tu­tional racism def­i­ni­tiom — the Labour Party, it’s be­yond doubt for me that it has met it.

“It’s very painful for me to say that.

“Part of the rea­son that I joined the Labour Party, my party, my fam­ily started sup­port­ing the party, was be­cause it was an anti-racist party and I think the fail­ure to deal with the racism that is an­tisemitism is par­tic­u­lar and clearly is a prob­lem.” In his Rosh Hashanah mes­sage, Mr Cor­byn said: “I would like to re­it­er­ate that the Labour Party stands in sol­i­dar­ity with the Jewish com­mu­nity in the fight against an­tisemitism.

“We will work to erad­i­cate the so­cial can­cer of an­tisemitism wher­ever is sur­faces, in­clud­ing in our own party.”

Streatham MP Mr Umunna made his com­ments af­ter be­ing urged to apol­o­gise for say­ing Mr Cor­byn should “call off the dogs” to stop cen­tre-left MPs be­ing driven out of the party.

Labour Party chair­man Ian Lav­ery told Sky News that Mr Umunna’s call was “dis­re­spect­ful” and “of­fen­sive”.

He said: “Call­ing any­body a dog is ab­so­lutely out­ra­geous in the ex­treme, and Chuka Umunna of all peo­ple should know that.

“These are the peo­ple who keep Chuka Umunna and my­self and other MPs in a job.”

Mr Umunna de­fended his re­marks, say­ing: “The phrase that I used is a me­taphor, it’s a fig­ure of speech.”

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