MPs to quiz Jeremy Corbyn on anti-Semitism in the Labour Party


Jeremy Corbyn will be quizzed by MPs over anti-Semitism in the Labour Party after stoking controversy at the launch of a report into the issue last week.

The Opposition leader faced a backlash from Jewish leaders when he appeared to link Israel and the Islamic State (IS) terror group.

Labour backbencher Ruth Smeeth also claimed the party was not a safe place for Jews after Mr Corbyn failed to intervene when she was verbally abused as the anti-Semitism and racism review findings were published.

The probe had been sparked by a row over alleged racist remarks that led to the suspension of high-profile figures like MP Naz Shah and former London mayor Ken Livingstone.

Mr Corbyn is continuing to cling on to the party's top job in the face of fierce opposition from most of his MPs.

Former shadow Cabinet ministers Angela Eagle and Owen Smith are believed to be considering staging a leadership challenge but union leaders have insisted they can broker a peace deal between the warring sides.

Unite boss Len McCluskey said Mr Corbyn was the victim of a "political lynching" but insisted the leader would not quit.

"The coup has failed," he told the BBC. "Jeremy Corbyn is made of stronger stuff, he is a man of steel and he has made it clear that he will not stand down."

Mr Corbyn was forced last week to deny drawing a parallel between Israel and IS after saying that Jews were ''no more responsible for the actions of Israel'' than Muslims were for the ''various self-styled Islamic states or organisations''.

The Labour leader's comment, at the launch of a report by Shami Chakrabarti on allegations of anti-Semitism within the party, was branded ''offensive'' by Britain's most prominent Jewish leader, Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis.

Ms Chakrabarti found that the party was ''not overrun by anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, or other forms of racism''.

She recommended that party members stop using the term ''Zio'' to refer to supporters of the state of Israel and steer clear of invoking Hitler, particularly in debates about Israel and Palestine.

Mr Corbyn will appear before the Commons' Home Affairs Committee to discuss the findings of the review. 

Chairman Keith Vaz said: "We have seen a deeply troubling upsurge in anti-Semitic incidents and speech across Britain and Europe in recent times, including within our political discourse.

"It is one of our fundamental British values to stand together and speak out against intolerance and extremism in any and every form, and we particularly expect this from our political parties.

"We are grateful to Jeremy Corbyn for coming to give evidence on his and the Labour Party's position following the publication of the independent report on anti-Semitism in the party on Thursday. He is the second Westminster Party leader to do so."