Labour peers use newspaper advert to attack ‘failure’ of Jeremy Corbyn over anti-Semitism scandal

DURHAM, ENGLAND - JULY 13: Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn checks his notes before he addresses the crowd during the 135th Durham Miners Gala on July 13, 2019 in Durham, England. Over two decades after the last pit closed in the Durham coalfield the Miners Gala or Big Meeting as it is known locally remains as popular as ever with close to 200,000 people expected to attend this year. The gala forms part of the culture and heritage of the area and represents the communal values of the North East of England. The gala sees traditional colliery brass bands march through the city ahead of their respective pit banners before pausing to play outside the County Hotel building where union leaders, invited guests and dignitaries gather before they then continue to the racecourse area for a day of entertainment and speeches. Beginning in 1871 the gala is the biggest trade union event in Europe and is part of an annual celebration of socialism. This year also marks the 150th anniversary of the Durham Miners’ Association. The gala is hosted by the DMA who also provide a range of services for its members, made up from former Durham miners, including compensation claims, benefit information, tribunal representation and legal advice. (Photo by Ian Forsyth/Getty Images)
Jeremy Corbyn has been accused of 'failing the test of leadership' amid the ongoing anti-Semitism row (Getty)

A group of over 60 Labour peers have used a newspaper advert to launch an astonishing attack on Jeremy Corbyn over his handling of anti-Semitism in the party.

The full page ad, published in The Guardian, criticises Mr Corbyn for a "toxic culture you have allowed to divide our movement", saying it has prompted the resignation of "thousands" of members.

The party, it says, is no longer a "safe place" for its members and supporters, and Mr Corbyn was accused of "failing the test of leadership”.

"We are saying you are accountable as Leader for allowing antisemitism to grow in our party and presiding over the most shaming period in Labour's history," it adds.

The advert is supported by a total of 67 Labour members of the House of Lords, including Peter Hain, Peter Mandelson and Robert Winston, and comes after a damning report by BBC's Panorama programme into the party's handling of allegations of anti-Semitism.

The peers also accuse Mr Corbyn of not having "opened (his) eyes" or "accepted responsibility" for the row which has engulfed the party.

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"We can't be a credible alternative government that will bring the country together if we can't get our own house in order," the advert says.

"Your failure to do the right thing will lead to the failure of the Labour Party being able to make our country a better place for the people and communities we seek to serve.”

"You have failed to defend our party's anti-racist values," it adds.

Lord Mandelson, Labour's Chair of Election Strategy, hosts a press conference at Labour Party Headquarters in Westminster, central London.
Labour peers including Lord Mandelson supported the full page advert in the Guardian (PA)

"You have therefore failed the test of leadership.”

Addressing Mr Corbyn directly, the advert states: "The Labour party welcomes everyone* irrespective of race, creed, age, gender identity, or sexual orientation. (*except, it seems, Jews). This is your legacy Mr Corbyn.”

Labour has hit back at the advert, dismissing the “false and misleading claims about the party by those hostile to Jeremy Corbyn’s politics”.

Insisting the party “stands in solidarity with Jewish people”, Labour added in a statement: “Jeremy Corbyn has made it clear in interviews, videos and articles that there is no place for anti-Semitism in the party.”

The statement went on to highlight how General Secretary Jennie Formby has “sped up” the rate at which cases of anti-Semitism are investigated, and that disciplinary procedures “relate to about 0.06% of members”.

The Labour leader has faced mounting pressure since the Panorama programme, which claimed that senior figures, including Mr Corbyn's communications chief Seumas Milne and general secretary Jennie Formby, had interfered in anti-Semitism investigations.

Labour has denied the claims and written a complaint to the BBC.

Lord Harris of Haringey, chairman of the Labour Peers Group, said on Tuesday that Mr Corbyn was "not cut out" to be a party leader, while Tory leadership hopefuls Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt have suggested Mr Corbyn may be anti-Semitic - a claim described as a "baseless political attack" by Labour.

Labour peers have already offered to investigate allegations of anti-Semitism in the party and warned Mr Corbyn that without full openness it was "a cancer that will continue to grow”.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn during the International Social Forum hosted by the Labour Party at the SOAS University of London in central London.
Mr Corbyn has faced mounting pressure since the Panorama programme on Jewish racism in the Labour party (PA)

Meanwhile, Labour's governing body has been urged to support a motion which would automatically exclude members where there is "irrefutable evidence" accusing them of racism and other forms of discrimination.

Tom Watson, the party's deputy leader, was among five members of the National Executive Committee who submitted the motion to the chair of the NEC.

The proposed change, which will be debated at a meeting next Tuesday, calls on the NEC to bring forward forward rule changes to the annual conference.

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