Jeremy Corbyn accused of failing to 'call out' Labour antisemitism by Sadiq Khan

'The fact that that person happens to be from my party, the fact that the leader of my party is failing to call it out, that’s irrelevant. I have to call it out'

Ashley Cowburn
Thursday 12 May 2016 14:01
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Sadiq Khan with Jeremy Corbyn in Westminster
Sadiq Khan with Jeremy Corbyn in Westminster

Sadiq Khan has accused Jeremy Corbyn of failing to “call out” antisemitism within the party’s ranks, in what appears to be the third attack on the Labour leader in his first week as mayor of London.

Mr Khan, who started at City Hall on Monday, made his comments just weeks after a row over antisemitism in the party dominated headlines before the local elections. Several councillors were suspended alongside Labour MP Naz Shah and Mr Corbyn’s long-time ally and former Mayor of London Ken Livingstone.

“I’ve been the victim of hate crime because of my ethnicity and my faith,” Mr Khan said in an interview with The New York Times.

He added: “If somebody is saying views that are appalling, disgusting and clearly anti-Semitic, I’ve got to call it out. The fact that that person happens to be from my party, the fact that the leader of my party is failing to call it out, that’s irrelevant. I have to call it out."

Later in the interview, he echoed his earlier criticisms, saying the party must reach out to non-Labour voters in order to win the next general election. He said: “I do not believe in glorious failure, heroic defeat,” he said. “You can only improve people’s lives by winning elections.”

On Sunday the newly-elected mayor used his first major television interview to attack Mr Corbyn, claiming he was not doing enough to address the concerns of ordinary voters.

In an article for The Observer, Mr Khan had already criticised Mr Corbyn’s electoral strategy, writing: “It should never be about ‘picking sides’, [or] a ‘them-or-us’ attitude,”

“Our aim should be to unite people from all backgrounds as a broad and welcoming tent – not to divide and rule.”

Mr Corbyn announced at the end of April that Labour would launch an independent inquiry, tasked with probing and tackling antisemitism. It is being led by Shami Chakrabarti – the former head of the rights group Liberty.

A code of conduct will also "make explicitly clear for the first time that Labour will not tolerate any form of racism, including antisemitism, in the party" and provide guidance on acceptable language.

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