Chief Rabbi brands Jeremy Corbyn as 'unfit for high office’

26 November 2019, 08:50

Ephraim Mirvis had strong words for Labour under Jeremy Corbyn
Ephraim Mirvis had strong words for Labour under Jeremy Corbyn. Picture: PA

The Chief Rabbi says the way in which the Labour leadership has dealt with anti-Jewish racism is incompatible with British values.

Ephraim Mirvis has accused Jeremy Corbyn of being "unfit for high office", warning that the "very soul of our nation is at stake" in next month's general election.

Labour has rejected the claims, saying that Mr Corbyn is a lifelong campaigner against anti-Semitism.

Writing in The Times, Mr Mirvis said that “a new poison” has taken hold in Labour “sanctioned from the very top”.

He wrote: “How complicit in prejudice would a leader of Her Majesty’s opposition have to be to be considered unfit for office? Would associations with those who have incited hatred against Jews be enough?

“Would describing as ‘friends’ those who endorse the murder of Jews be enough? It seems not.

“It is not my place to tell any person how they should vote. I regret being in this situation at all. I simply pose the question: What will the result of this election say about the moral compass of our country?

“When December 12 arrives, I ask every person to vote with their conscience. Be in no doubt, the very soul of our nation is at stake.”

Allegations of antisemitism have plagued Labour and Mr Corbyn since he was elected to the leadership in September 2015.

Thirteen Labour MPs have quit the party since 2017 at least partly in protest at its handling of antisemitism.

Mr Corbyn has insisted repeatedly that he is not antisemitic and the party has defended its processes for dealing with complaints.

In response to the Chief Rabbi's comments, a Labour spokesman said: "Jeremy Corbyn is a lifelong campaigner against anti-Semitism and has made absolutely clear it has no place in our party and society and that no-one who engages in it does so in his name.

"A Labour government will guarantee the security of the Jewish community, defend and support the Jewish way of life, and combat rising anti-Semitism in our country and across Europe. Our race and faith manifesto sets out our policies to achieve this."