Jewish MP was not hounded out of Labour Party, says Jeremy Corbyn

·2-min read
Jeremy Corbyn told a debate that Labour had given Luciana Berger 'all the support she needed and deserved' -  Leon Neal/Getty Images Europe
Jeremy Corbyn told a debate that Labour had given Luciana Berger 'all the support she needed and deserved' - Leon Neal/Getty Images Europe

Jeremy Corbyn has claimed Jewish MP Luciana Berger was "not hounded out of the party" as he comes under renewed calls to resign as a Labour MP.

The former Labour leader told the Cambridge University debating society that "Luciana was not hounded out of the party. She unfortunately decided to resign from the party".

Ms Berger quit Labour in February 2019 along with six other MPs, criticising Mr Corbyn's approach to anti-Semitism within the party.

A subsequent investigation by the Equality and Human Rights Commission found that Labour could have tackled anti-Semitism against Jewish members "if the leadership had chosen to do so".

It also found Labour had breached the Equality Act twice by "committing unlawful harassment" against Jewish members.

Ms Berger, who was the Labour MP for Liverpool Waverly, said in reaction to the report at the time: "Party processes gave the anti-Semites cover. The party facilitated a culture of bullying, bigotry and intimidation against Jewish members from within its ranks. At every step of the way, Jeremy Corbyn enabled this to happen."

Mr Corbyn, who had the whip withdrawn by Sir Keir Starmer following the report, responded to questions by the Cambridge University debating society's president, Joel Rosen, by saying: "We gave her all the support she needed and deserved."

The Islington North MP said that although Ms Berger received "appalling abuse" during her time in party, "Diane Abbott received appalling abuse – and so did Dawn Butler".

Joe Glasman, the head of political investigations at the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism, said: "Despite the findings of the EHRC, and despite the complaints made by us against him, and despite his brief suspension from the party and ongoing suspension from the Parliamentary Labour Party, he continues to refuse to accept the scale of the problem or his responsibility for it. Mr Corbyn has not learned a thing.

"Given that Sir Keir Starmer has insisted that anyone who holds views such as these 'should be nowhere near the Labour Party', it is time for Mr Corbyn to go. We have previously called for Mr Corbyn to be expelled by the Labour Party. We reiterate that call today."