David Lammy apologises for nominating Jeremy Corbyn to be Labour leader

The Tottenham MP said he ‘never believed’ Corbyn would become Labour leader

Grace Almond
Tuesday 28 December 2021 18:54 GMT
<p>Mr Lammy also described his belief in a “rainbow coalition approach to politics”</p>

Mr Lammy also described his belief in a “rainbow coalition approach to politics”

David Lammy has apologised for nominating Jeremy Corbyn at Labour’s 2015 leadership election.

The comments were made at this year’s Limmud festival, a Jewish event which took place virtually this year between Friday 24 and Tuesday 28 December.

Mr Lammy said he “never believed” Corbyn would become leader and called his nomination “a mistake”.

The shadow foreign secretary told an audience of around 300 that he was “staggered” that individuals with deeply antisemitic views remain in the Labour Party. The remarks were first reported by Jewish News.

“I’ve met some of these individuals and am frankly staggered some are still in the party. But as a lawyer I understand that people appeal and go to court. There is a process, which can feel slow and tortuous sometimes, but it must be undertaken,” he said.

Mr Lammy added: “I regret nominating Jeremy Corbyn and if I knew what I do now I never would have nominated him.

“I never believed he would become leader. That was a mistake and I am sorry for that.”

He also described his belief in a “rainbow coalition approach to politics”, acknowledging the Jewish community for standing “shoulder to shoulder” with anti-apartheid leaders including Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela.

He continued, praising the Jewish community for understanding “the fascism that was at the heart of apartheid and the pernicious evil of discrimination.”

Mr Lammy’s comments were made following a recent survey of Jewish Labour Movement members, which found strong satisfaction with Sir Keir Starmer’s efforts to address antisemitism within the party.

Of the 363 respondents, around 70% said Labour was a safe space for Jewish people under Starmer’s leadership, compared with 4% who felt the same under Corbyn.

At Limmud, Mr Lammy continued, saying he was “fully behind” Sir Keir Starmer’s leadership, but exercised caution: “I don’t believe the overall culture is toxic any more… but until the party is genuinely welcome for everyone, we remain on a journey.”

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