Jeremy Corbyn has been ordered to apologise “unequivocally, unambiguously and without reservation” by Labour’s Chief Whip for claiming the scale of the party’s anti-Semitism problem had been “dramatically overstated”.
Nick Brown, the party’s enforcer, wrote to the former Labour leader to make it clear that he needed to say sorry to be reinstated as a Labour MP.
Mr Corbyn was suspended from Labour over the comments, which came after the equalities watchdog published a damning report into handling of complaints of anti-Jewish hate in the party.
The move enraged his supporters and dealt a major blow to Keir Starmer’s efforts to unite different wings of the party.
Mr Corbyn was reinstated as a party member by Labour’s ruling body but Mr Starmer has failed to restore the whip to his predecessor.
In a letter to Mr Corbyn on Monday, Mr Brown asked if he would consider apologising for his comments as part of the probe into whether he should regain the whip.
The chief whip wrote: “Will you unequivocally, unambiguously and without reservation apologise for your comments made on the morning of 29 October 2020, in particular for saying “One anti-Semite is one too many, but the scale of the problem was also dramatically overstated for political reasons by our opponents inside and outside the party, as well as by much of the media”, which caused such distress and pain to Jewish members of the Labour Party and the wider Jewish community?”
Mr Brown asked him to consider removing or editing the response which he posted on Facebook and demanded assurances Mr Corbyn would cooperate with efforts to rid the party of anti-Semitism.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission has ordered Labour to overhaul its process of dealing with anti-Semitism issues.
Lawyers for Mr Corbyn have already written to Labour bosses demanding he is reinstated as a party MP.
The letter reportedly criticised the handling of Mr Corbyn’s case and the lack of a specific timescale when the suspension took place.
Mr Corbyn is said to have been told he will have the Labour whip suspended for at least three months.
A Labour spokesman said: “Following consultation with the Labour Leader, the Chief Whip has written to Jeremy Corbyn about his precautionary suspension from the whip.
“In the interests of transparency, a copy of this letter has been put in the public domain. We will not be making any further comments.”
The row comes ahead of a meeting of Labour’s National Executive Committee on Tuesday, where clashes are expected on Mr Corbyn’s suspension.