'I do not intervene in cases': Corbyn denies meddling on antisemitism

7 March 2019, 03:34 | Updated: 7 March 2019, 07:24

Jeremy Corbyn has claimed he does "not intervene in cases" after Labour MPs accused his allies of meddling in the party's investigations into antisemitism allegations.

In a statement, the Labour leader said the party has a "robust system" that does not intervene in cases.

It comes after Labour appeared to backtrack over the appointment of the daughter of a long-standing Corbyn aide to the head of the party's complaints process.

Mr Corbyn said: "I'm determined to make sure the system works, that it is independent of me and my office, that if somebody has suffered any kind of abuse, antisemitic abuse or any other abuse it is dealt with through our rule book, by our policies, and the individual cases have a right to appeal to the national constitutional committee of the party.

"There is no space for racism in any form in our society, there is absolutely no space anywhere for antisemitism in our society."

MPs have accused members of the Labour leader's inner circle of interfering in the outcome of antisemitism cases in order to reduce what sanctions were imposed.

Dame Margaret Hodge claimed Mr Corbyn has either misled her or been misled himself about the extent of his team's involvement in cases.

The senior Jewish Labour MP shared a letter she had written to Mr Corbyn on her Twitter page.

In his response, Mr Corbyn said a "very small group of staff" in his office were asked by Labour's governance and legal unit to help clear the backlog of cases.

He also accused her of recording their meeting, despite an agreement it would be private, claiming it was a "total breach of trust and privacy".

Jewish MPs are also alarmed by the transfer of Laura Murray, daughter of one of Mr Corbyn's closest allies Andrew Murray, from her job in the leader's office to Labour's complaints team, a move the party says is to speed up investigations.

A row erupted at a private meeting after it was announced that Ms Murray would be overseeing complaints of antisemitism on an interim basis.

Shortly after, party sources said the announcement had been made "in error" and she would not be carrying out the role.

Accusations of meddling in the disciplinary process were made at the weekend after leaked emails showed that Mr Murray, a powerful adviser to Mr Corbyn, had been consulted on cases.

The row came as the Jewish Labour Movement met on Wednesday to consider whether to end its 99-year affiliation with the party over what it thinks is a lack of action on antisemitism.

In an indicative vote, its members agreed to remain affiliated with the party, but gave Mr Corbyn a month to act on the group's concerns.

"If the Labour Party fails to show solidarity to us, we will not show solidarity to it," JLM national secretary Peter Mason said.