JEREMY Corbyn was told by one of his own MPs that he’s a “f***ing anti-Semite and a racist” in an extraordinary bust-up last night.
Ex-minister Margaret Hodge confronted the Labour leader in the Commons chamber after the party’s ruling NEC body sparked uproar by approving a new anti-Semitism code condemned by the Jewish Community.
The astonishing clash – revealed by Huffington Post – was witnessed by several MPs and took place behind the Speaker’s chair seconds after MPs had voted on crunch Brexit legislation.
Mrs Hodge told Mr Corbyn: “You’re a f***ing anti-Semite and a racist. You have proved you don’t want people like me in the party”.
Mr Corbyn replied: “I’m sorry you feel like that.”
A Labour party source confirmed the exchange took place.
The source described Mrs Hodge as “aggressive” while Mr Corbyn was “calm,” adding: “Other MPs who were there were upset by it.”
The furious exchange escalated Labour’s anti-Semitic crisis last night – and came after Jewish campaigners threatened an unprecedented legal challenge against Labour’s new anti-Semitism code.
They said they were “examining options” after Labour’s ruling NEC body sparked uproar by rubber stamping the new guidelines yesterday.
The party could be taken to the European human rights courts, Labour Against Anti-Semitism said.
As party members ripped up their cards, MPs openly challenged whether the Labour leadership wanted to win the next General Election.
The extraordinary row came after the NEC approved a code critics claim will allow Labour members to escape punishment even if they compare Israeli policies to the Nazis – or say they didn’t “intend” to cause any harm.
Labour MPs had urged the NEC to accept the widely recognised 16-point International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of Jew hate.
In the meeting one pro-Corbyn member backing the code, Peter Willsman, allegedly told the room: “Some of the people in the Jewish community are Trump fanatics – I’ll take no lectures from them.”
Jeremy Corbyn supported the new code as did backbencher Keith Vaz who told colleagues Ken Livingstone had been treated “very badly” by the party.
Critics claim Labour has essentially dropped four of the 16-point IHRA definitions despite it being accepted by the Crown Prosecution Service, the police and councils across the UK.
Tom Watson, Labour’s deputy leader, had urged the NEC to reconsider in yesterday’s crunch meeting.
He said: “Are we serious about winning a General Election? Are we serious about dealing with anti-Semitism?
“We need to grip this issue and close it down. The people who will judge us on this are the Jewish community and rightly so.”
Earlier yesterday Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis warned that accepting the code would send an “unprecedented message of contempt” to the Jewish community.
Tal Offer, a deputy at the Jewish Board of Deputies, ripped up his Labour membership card in disgust after the decision came out.
He said: “As long as Labour don’t deal with anti-Semitism inside the party it is not fit for power and it can’t be a party for the many.”
In an official statement last night the Board of Deputies and Jewish Leadership Council said: “The decision taken by the NEC today to adopt a watered-down definition of anti-Semitism will be regarded with a mixture of incredulity and outrage by the overwhelming majority of the UK’s Jews.
“This is a sad day for the cause of anti-racism in this country. Labour, for so long a Party that put equality and inclusion at the centre of its values, has today decided to claim that it understands
anti-Semitism better than the victims of this vile prejudice and to set its face against the clear views of the Jewish community.”
Labour insisted the NEC had also decided to call for a “further review” of the issue and to “re-open the development of the code” at a later date.
But one source called this “utterly pathetic” and a “fudge”.
Tory party chief Brandon Lewis last night said: “Labour’s failure to adopt the IHRA definition of anti-Semitic racism in full is shameful.
“Jeremy Corbyn promised a ‘kinder politics’, but his party’s watered-down definition of anti-Semitism risks giving a free pass to people who do and say things which have no place in public life.”
He added: “The IHRA definition is used by the Labour-run Welsh Government, along with Labour councils across the country, and if Labour are serious about tackling anti-Semitism they should adopt it in full too.”
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