Lord Mann tells LBC 'best thing' Corbyn could do is retire after suspension from Labour

30 October 2020, 07:53 | Updated: 30 October 2020, 08:25

A former Labour MP who quit the party over anti-Semitism has told LBC that the “best thing” Jeremy Corbyn could do is retire after he had the whip withdrawn.

Lord Mann, who is the Government's Antisemitism Tsar, said the EHRC’s bombshell report on anti-Semitism in the Labour Party “wasn’t a surprise” and called on Mr Corbyn to “take responsibility for his own failings.”

The former Labour leader was suspended on Thursday after a damning investigation into the party’s handling of anti-Semitism.

Read more: Labour splits emerge over Jeremy Corbyn suspension after anti-Semitism report

Read more: James O'Brien's instant reaction to Sir Keir Starmer's statement on Labour anti-Semitism

Mr Corbyn rejected some of the equality watchdog's findings and claimed the issue had been "dramatically overstated for political reasons" by his critics - a stance that put him at odds with his successor Sir Keir Starmer and led to him having the whip removed.

Lord Mann, who was formerly the MP for Bassetlaw, told LBC’s Nick Ferrari that Mr Corbyn was “guilty of a political ideology that allowed this hatred to spread” and said he “hasn’t got a clue.”

Lord Mann told LBC: “People who’ve lived through this are pleased to see at last some leadership on it.

“What’s most astonishing is nothing that happened yesterday was a surprise.

“The report wasn’t a surprise, obviously those in the midst of it like myself knew exactly what was going on, and this unprecedented action by this commission, the EHRC, this independent commission, with legal powers – unprecedented.

“And then Corbyn of course stumbling around denying everything, when his own office is particularly identified in this report and his own leadership at the top – he needs to take responsibility for his own failings.”

Asked if he felt Corbyn could ever return to the Labour Party, Lord Mann said: “I don’t think he will now.

“The best thing he could do is go off and retire, because Corbynism is dead in this country and the poison that came from it is what we see in this report.

“What he’s guilty of is a political ideology that allowed this hatred to spread.

“For him then, in that clip, trying to quantify figures – he hasn’t got a clue, because he doesn’t see anti-Semitism when it hits him in the face.”

The fallout came on what Sir Keir labelled a "day of shame" for Labour after the EHRC found the party broke equality law over its handling of anti-Semitism complaints.

The EHRC investigation found evidence of "political interference" by then leader Mr Corbyn's office in the complaints process.

Interim chairwoman Caroline Waters said there had been "inexcusable" failures which "appeared to be a result of a lack of willingness to tackle anti-Semitism rather than an inability to do so".

The watchdog identified three breaches of the Equality Act relating to political interference in complaints, failure to provide adequate training to those handling anti-Semitism cases, and harassment.

The party has been served with an unlawful act notice and has been given until December 10 to draft an action plan to implement the report's recommendations. The notice is legally enforceable by the courts if not fulfilled.

The EHRC concluded that the lack of training for people handling anti-Semitism complaints indirectly discriminated against Jewish members until August 2020, by which time Sir Keir Starmer was leader of the party.

Labour has committed to proper training, with the EHRC recommending it should be mandatory and fully implemented within six months.

Recommendations made by the watchdog include commissioning an independent process to handle anti-Semitism complaints.

The EHRC's lead investigator Alasdair Henderson told a press conference that blame could not be placed on one person alone and the problem went beyond Mr Corbyn, but added that "as leader of the party, and with evidence of political interference from within his office, he does have a responsibility ultimately for those failings".

The Jewish Labour Movement said blame for the "sordid, disgraceful chapter" in the party's history "lies firmly with those who held positions of leadership".

Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis said the report was a "historic nadir for the Labour Party".