Proposed new rules on racism to be voted on at Labour conference

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Proposed Labour Party rules that would make racism and anti-Semitism as serious an offence as support of another party will be voted on at its annual conference next week, Jeremy Corbyn has said.

The Labour leader said the plans put forward by the Jewish Labour Movement to put racial discrimination on an equal footing with disloyalty will come to the floor at the Liverpool conference, which begins on Sunday.

Speaking at a Jewish community leadership hustings in north London, Corbyn said: "Yes it will be going to conference and it follows on from the general anti-racism statement I proposed to the National Executive (Committee) some months ago which was actually unanimously agreed by the NEC."

He added: "There's something really sad that we're the only political party that's ever had a statement of general anti-racism."

(Neil Jones/PA)
(Neil Jones/PA)

Corbyn's leadership rival Owen Smith said he would also back the new rule and suggested it was particularly relevant.

"I think particularly the way in which the rule change has been framed does make a very stark point," Smith said.

"Really I felt it very sharply that we have previously treated supporting an alternative party as a more serious offence than articulating anti-Semitic or other racist or homophobic, for example, views.

"That cannot be right."

Labour has been dogged by allegations of anti-Semitism since Corbyn took over as leader, with one row leading to the suspension of former London mayor Ken Livingstone and temporary suspension of MP Naz Shah.

A subsequent review of racism in the party by former Liberty director Shami Chakrabarti, who has since been given a peerage by the Labour leader, was criticised by Jewish leaders and MPs after it found the Labour Party "is not overrun by anti-Semitism, Islamophobia or other forms of racism".