Labour crackdown on anti-semitism urged


Labour is in danger of looking like it does not care about prejudice against Jewish people, one of its MPs warned as he called for a crackdown on anti-semitism.

Ilford North MP Wes Streeting spoke out in support of moves to strengthen party rules aimed at toughening up sanctions against members found to have spouted anti-semitic, islamophobic, or racist views.

The move comes after Labour has become embroiled in a number of controversies surrounding allegations of anti-semitic comments from activists.

Mr Streeting warned the party now looked "apathetic" to anti-semitism.

"We have now got a problem where too many of our Jewish members and people out there in the country think the Labour Party is apathetic to anti-semitism, and it isn't a place for Jewish members, and I think we have got to make sure that this party, with its historic commitment to tackling all types of prejudice, including anti-semitism, is a place for Jewish people," he told BBC Radio Four's Today Programme.

Jeremy Newmark of the Jewish Labour Movement called for changes in party rules to deal with the situation.

"Everybody's talking about zero tolerance of anti-semitism, but it has become apparent, because of a spate of incidents over the past couple of months, that the rules and processes of the party don't provide adequate provision to deal with it," Mr Newmark said.

Mr Newmark wants to see the Labour conference endorse rule changes which will specifically ban anti-semitic, islamophobic, or racist language, and deal with offenders more strongly.

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell has called for a tougher response to members expressing anti-semitic views.

Mr McDonnell said the party needed to "sit up and listen" to complaints being made about anti-semitic language and attitudes.