New challenge to Corbyn over Labour's anti-Semitism issue

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn

Tories claim Labour has a "very real problem with anti-Semitism" after a damning independent report said Jeremy Corbyn has failed to provide leadership in tackling the issue.

The cross-party Home Affairs Select Committee questioned whether Labour leader Mr Corbyn "fully appreciates" the nature of post-war anti-Semitism and also sharply criticised the inquiry into the issue by Labour peer Baroness Chakrabarti.

Conservative MP Mike Freer called for concrete action to stop the racist abuse of Jewish people within the party's ranks.

He said: "The Committee's report has made it crystal clear that the Labour Party has a very real problem with anti-Semitism. There is no place whatsoever for racism in British society.

"As leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn has a duty to face up to the problem and to take concrete action to stamp it out now - not just make mealy-mouthed condemnations."

Labour MP John Mann, who chairs the all party parliamentary group against anti-Semitism, praised the "careful" and "important" inquiry.

He said: "This is a very welcome and important report and I praise the Home Affairs Select Committee members for their commitment, careful investigation and timely recommendations.

"I am pleased that the inquiry took our submission into consideration and we look forward to hearing a positive Government response.

"We will continue to work hard on a cross-party basis to ensure that anti-Semitism is effectively tackled."

The report was also welcomed by organisations outside politics.

Karen Pollock, chief executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust said: "This cross-party inquiry has issued the strong clarion call we have so desperately needed in the fight to tackle anti-Semitism in all its guises.

"We must fight this age old hatred as we would fight any form of racism and prejudice - by taking action, not just in Parliament but across society."

Gideon Falter, chairman of Campaign Against Anti-Semitism said: "We could not have said it better ourselves. This report firmly endorses the course of action we have recommended for two years, and not a moment too soon.

"The Select Committee's rigorous report is uncompromising on the rise in anti-Semitism and the danger it presents.

"It directly accuses the enablers of growing anti-Semitism, including social networks, those on the far-left who allow vile Jew hatred to masquerade as political discourse, and the student leaders who have abandoned Jewish students."

Mr Falter added: "The recommendations must now be swiftly implemented: the international definition of anti-Semitism must be universally adopted and applied - including in political parties - and the authorities must enforce the law against anti-Semitism with zero tolerance."