Gove raises questions about Starmer’s role in Labour anti-Semitism crisis
To which shadow minister tells him: “Do one”
Row continues over report which found Labour broke equality law and Jeremy Corbyn’s subsequent suspension
A Labour shadow minister has told Michael Gove to “do one” after he raised questions about Sir Keir Starmer’s role in Labour’s anti-Semitism crisis.
It comes as the bitter row continues over Jeremy Corbyn’s suspension from the party, in the wake of the damning report which found Labour broke equality law over its handling of anti-Semitism complaints.
Gove, a senior member of Boris Johnson’s government, wrote a letter to Starmer challenging him about his role as a senior member of Corbyn’s shadow cabinet at the time of the anti-Semitism claims.
“Considering just one year ago you were campaigning to elect Jeremy Corbyn as prime minister,” Gove wrote, “many people will rightly worry about your failure to speak out and challenge the Labour leadership at the time.”
It prompted Lucy Powell, a Starmer ally and shadow business minister, to write:
Gove had said: “Fundamentally, this is a question of leadership. It is easy to take a position on anti-Semitism in hindsight, but you seemingly found it much harder to find the moral character and backbone to do what was right at the time.
“For someone aspiring to be prime minster of this country, it should not take a report from the Equality and Human Rights Commission to tell them what the right thing to do is.”
Watch: Charlie Sayt to Keir Starmer: Is Jeremy Corbyn anti-semitic?
Starmer toured broadcast studios on Friday morning in response to the report, for which the Labour leader apologised on Thursday after it found the party was responsible for unlawful acts of harassment and discrimination.
Corbyn had rejected some of the report’s findings and claimed the issue had been “dramatically overstated for political reasons” by his critics. This prompted the veteran MP’s suspension.
Speaking to ITV’s Good Morning Britain on Friday, Starmer said he “fully supports” the suspension, which was initiated by general secretary David Evans.
He also told Sky News he was “disappointed” in Corbyn’s response to the damning investigation, “since I had said in my response the Labour Party will not tolerate anti-Semitism nor will it tolerate those who deny there’s a problem of anti-Semitism”.
Anti-Semitism claims dogged Labour for almost the entirety of Corbyn’s leadership between September 2015 and April this year.