Jeremy Corbyn attacked over interventions in antisemitism complaints

5 March 2019, 08:59 | Updated: 5 March 2019, 09:37

A Jewish Labour MP has launched a scathing attack on Jeremy Corbyn, claiming she has been "intentionally misled" about assurances antisemitism complaints are not handled by his office.

Dame Margaret Hodge blasted a report in The Observer that said an aide to the Labour leader argued for "more lenient action" to be taken against one individual.

She called the revelation "simply unacceptable", telling Mr Corbyn that it "contradicts what you told me to my face" in a meeting last week.

A Labour spokesperson said any suggestion that Mr Corbyn's staff overturned rulings against individuals was "categorically untrue".

Ms Hodge has written a letter to the Labour leader complaining about the "political interference" from one of his staff in the disciplinary procedure.

"I can only conclude that either you have intentionally misled me or your staff have been misleading you," she said.

"I look forward to hearing from you to explain which one is the case."

She also criticised the "inappropriate" appointment of Labour peer Lord Falconer to lead a review into how the party investigates complaints of antisemitism.

Ms Hodge wrote days ago that Labour's lawyers - including Lord Falconer - "did their utmost to intimidate me" when she faced disciplinary action for confronting Mr Corbyn about antisemitism.

Labour has admitted that Andrew Murray, special adviser to Mr Corbyn, personally looked at 13 antisemitism complaints and argued against the suspension of a party member in one of them.

A spokesperson said since the appointment of its new general secretary, Jennie Formby, the procedure for dealing with antisemitism complaints had become "more robust".

They added: "Staff who work on disciplinary matters have always led on investigations and recommendations on individual cases.

"Any suggestion that staff in the Leaders' Office overturned recommendations on individual cases is categorically untrue."

Mr Murray's daughter Laura, who also works in Jeremy Corbyn's office, has recently moved jobs to provide support to Labour's complaints unit.

The party said it is to speed up its investigations.

Earlier this month, Jennie Formby sent a letter to Labour MPs outlining the actions the party had taken over antisemitism complaints.

It showed the party had received 673 complaints relating to members in 10 months.

Some 96 members were suspended from the party for their conduct between April 2018 and January 2019, and 12 were expelled.