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Corbyn backer on Labour NEC dismisses critical anti-semitism report as 'party political'

Newly elected Labour NEC member Rhea Wolfson said she 'disagreed' with the cross-party report into anti-semitism, which had been overly focused on Jeremy Corbyn 

Tom Peck
Monday 17 October 2016 09:48 BST
Rhea Wolfson was elected to Labour's ruling committee in August, with the backing of Momentum
Rhea Wolfson was elected to Labour's ruling committee in August, with the backing of Momentum

A cross-party report which attacked Jeremy Corbyn over his approach to anti-Semitism has been dismissed as biased and politically motivated by one of the leader’s backers on Labour’s ruling executive.

Rhea Wolfson, who was elected to Labour’s NEC in August with the backing of Momentum, and who is herself Jewish, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: “The report came across as incredibly party-political, and focused overly on the Labour Party, as Jeremy said.”

Ms Wolfson said she “disagreed” with the report, which said Jeremy Corbyn had not shown consistent leadership on dealing with anti-Semitism .

She said: “I think the fact that he responded so quickly to the allegations that were handed to him of anti-Semitism and set up the Chakrabarti report is testament to how seriously he is taking that issue, and I have a lot of faith in him to move forward on that issue.”

At the Momentum rally that occurred in parallel with the Labour Party Conference in Liverpool, leaflets condemned as “racist and anti-Semitic” were distributed which called for the Jewish Labour Movement to be disbanded.

Asked about the incident, Ms Wolfson said: “Those leaflets didn’t come from Momentum and are certainly not representative of Momentum. Momentum has a very clear procedure in terms of complaints and I actually didn’t see any of those leaflets but if I had done so I would have passed them on and said they are totally unwelcome. That language is harking back to classic anti-Semitic tropes that are never welcome in the Labour Party.”

Meanwhile moderate Labour MP Seema Malhotra has said stronger action against anti-Semitism is needed in the Labour Party

Ms Malhotra, who served as Mr Corbyn's Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury until she resigned in June, told BBC Radio 4's The Westminster Hour that it was “shocking and staggering to see the abuse that our colleagues have had”, and added: “I want to see an end to it.” She called for “a much stronger sense of action” and a “feeling of stronger commitment” from the Labour leadership, to tackle anti-Semitism in the party. Although she declined to join calls for Ken Livingstone to be expelled from the party, she agreed “stronger action on discipline needs to be taken”.

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