Labour MP says party 'failed' on anti-Semitism and needs to 'clean up act'

4 November 2020, 21:38

EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Catherine West MP says her party needs to "clean up our act" following the publication of a report from the human rights watchdog on anti-Semitism within Labour.

Answering a question from an LBC listener the Labour MP for Hornsey and Wood Green branded the loss at the 2019 General Election as "really bad."

She said in her constituency voters told her they were not supporting Labour due to the anti-Semitism issue.

The discussion comes in in the wake of a scathing probe into Labour by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC).

The party's leader Sir Keir Starmer suspended former leader Jeremy Corbyn due to his predecessor's public comments on the EHRC report.

Mrs West told LBC's Cross Question debate show she hoped the publication of the report by the EHRC would mean Labour can "move forward."

"The Labour Party has acted unlawfully in three ways and we need to clean up our act," the MP told LBC.

She said she hoped a new General Secretary for the party and the "resolve" of new leader Sir Keir Starmer it would mean the party "can go forward and improve."

When LBC's Iain Dale questioned the MP on why it took a General Election defeat to realise this the answer Mrs West gave was "we all knew it was a problem."

She told Iain that the issue would "come up in press interviews."

The MP said it made her feel "really bad" when constituents would raise the issue of anti-Semitism within the party.

Telling LBC she "wrote to the party on a number of occasions" to raise the issue but she said it "took ages" for them to respond to her.

"We failed" the MP admitted.

Revealing to LBC the issue had been raised with former leader Jeremy Corbyn, Mrs West said she could not comment on his suspension.

This led to Iain questioning the MP for Hornsey and Wood Green on her thoughts on Jeremy Corbyn went to the Isle of Wight and "stayed with the only Isle of Wight Labour party member to be expelled for his views on anti-Semitism."

"Clearly that is part of the same problem," was her response.

Iain asked: "He doesn't get it doesn't he?"

Sir Keir suspended Mr Corbyn from the party because of his predecessor's public comments on the EHRC report.
Sir Keir suspended Mr Corbyn from the party because of his predecessor's public comments on the EHRC report. Picture: LBC/PA

The EHRC concluded the party was responsible for unlawful acts of harassment and discrimination, and found evidence of "political interference" in the complaints process by Mr Corbyn's office.

The former leader has said he will "strongly contest" the decision to suspend him pending an investigation, which also meant the Islington North MP had the Labour whip removed in Parliament.

Sir Keir has called on Mr Corbyn to "reflect" on his comments following the release of the EHRC report.

Watch the whole interview in the video at the top of the page to see the exchange.