Jeremy Corbyn has been suspended from Labour over his reaction to the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s report into anti-Semitism in the party.
“In light of his comments made today and his failure to retract them subsequently, the Labour Party has suspended Jeremy Corbyn pending investigation,” a spokesperson for the Labour Party said on Thursday.
“He has also had the whip removed from the Parliamentary Labour Party.”
Corbyn had said allegations about anti-Jewish racism on his watch had been “dramatically overstated” by his political opponents.
On Thursday the EHRC found the party committed unlawful acts of harassment and discrimination while Corbyn was leader.
Keir Starmer, who took over as party leader in April, said the findings were a “day of shame” for the party and he was “truly sorry”.
He said he was “disappointed” in Corbyn’s statement in response to the report and he “fully supports” the decision to suspend him from the party.
He told reporters: “I made it clear that we won’t tolerate anti-Semitism or the denial of anti-Semitism through the suggestion that it’s exaggerated or factional, and that’s why I was disappointed in Jeremy Corbyn’s response and that is why appropriate action has been taken, which I fully support.”
He added: “I want to unite the Labour Party and bring our factions together as a united party.
“But I made a very clear commitment to root out anti-Semitism and I’m going to follow through on that commitment.
“We cannot say ‘zero tolerance’ and then turn a blind eye.”
I will strongly contest the political intervention to suspend me.
I’ve made absolutely clear those who deny there has been an antisemitism problem in the Labour Party are wrong.
I will continue to support a zero tolerance policy towards all forms of racism.
— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) October 29, 2020
Defending his actions, Corbyn said he had been “always determined to eliminate all forms of racism and root out the cancer of anti-Semitism”.
In a statement on Thursday morning the former Labour leader also said he did not accept all of the EHRC’s conclusions.
“Anyone claiming there is no anti-Semitism in the Labour Party is wrong. Of course there is, as there is throughout society, and sometimes it is voiced by people who think of themselves as on the left,” he said.
“Jewish members of our party and the wider community were right to expect us to deal with it, and I regret that it took longer to deliver that change than it should.”
Be he added: “One anti-Semite is one too many, but the scale of the problem was also dramatically overstated for political reasons by our opponents inside and outside the party, as well as by much of the media.”
Speaking at a press conference earlier on Thursday morning, Starmer was repeatedly questioned over Corbyn’s claim the allegations had been “overstated”.
Starmer said anyone who believed accusations of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party were “exaggerated or a factional attack” was “part of the problem” and “should be nowhere near the Labour Party”.
The announcement by the party that Corbyn had been suspended came two hours later.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.