politics

Top Labour MP Keir Starmer says Labour must tighten up anti-Semitism rules ‘sharpish’


A TOP Labour frontbencher today piled pressure on Jeremy Corbyn to step in to change the party’s watered-down definition of anti-Semitism.

Sir Keir Starmer urged the Labour leader to make changes “sharpish” after the party’s disciplinary panel approved a new racism code that for the first time doesn’t incorporate an international definition of anti-Jewish hate.

 Keir Starmer has called on Labour to do more to tackle anti-Semitism

JEFF OVERS

Keir Starmer has called on Labour to do more to tackle anti-Semitism

The Shadow Brexit Secretary said Labour must reinstate the full definition outlined by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA).

The new guidelines could let dozens of members currently suspended over anti-Semitism back into the party.

Sir Keir told the BBC that his party should “reflect on what’s been said in the last few days and if we are not in a position of supporting the full definition we need to get into that position and sharpish”.

He said he supported the “full definition”, adding: “Councils, institutions across the country have accepted the full definition. I think that’s the right position to be in.”

 Jeremy Corbyn is under pressure on the issue

AFP

Jeremy Corbyn is under pressure on the issue

Asked why Labour has not adopted the definition, he said: “There’s some argument as to whether Labour has or hasn’t, but I would urge everybody within the Labour party to listen to the voices that have come out in recent days and get to a position where we are supporting the full definition.

“I think it’s really important, including the examples. We have to be very clear about our position on this.”

His criticism of the new rules follow a major backlash from Labour MPs last week. Senior Labour MP John Mann warned Mr Corbyn that the party will face “huge consequences” if it fails to adopt the full international definition.

The new guidelines of what constitutes as anti-Jewish hate was passed by a sub-committee of Labour’s ruling National Executive committee earlier this week.

The code states: “Anti-Semitism is racism. It is unacceptable in our party and in wider society.”

But it does not sign up to the full International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism.

And it said criticism of Israel and even “contentious” comments on the issue “will not be treated as anti-Semitism unless accompanied by specific anti-Semitic content… or by other evidence of anti-Semitic intent”.

For example, the new rules would not count comparisons of current Israeli policy to the Nazis as anti-Semitism.


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