Eddie Izzard calls on Labour to eradicate 'stain of anti-Semitism'

Labour must take action to stamp out the "stain of anti-Semitism", Eddie Izzard has said as he becomes the newest member of the party's ruling body.

Under party rules, the comedian takes the place of Christine Shawcroft on the national executive committee (NEC) having been the next most popular candidate in the last set of elections to the committee.

It follows the announcement on Saturday that Ms Shawcroft - a left-wing supporter of Jeremy Corbyn - was standing down following demands from MPs that she should quit in another row over anti-Semitism.

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In a statement, Izzard said the party must now rebuild relations with the Jewish community.

"Although this isn't the manner in which I had hoped to join the NEC I'm honoured to step up and represent Labour members at the heart of our party," he said.

"This is a very important time for the Labour Party and we must stamp out completely the stain of anti-Semitism from a minority of members. It has no place in our party.

"I have campaigned against hate my whole life and will continue to do so wherever it rears its ugly head.

"We must make amends and repair the damage with the Jewish community as Jeremy Corbyn has promised to do.

"We must get past this, for the good of the people Labour seeks to represent.

"We must unite our party around the platform of hope that Jeremy Corbyn has built so that we can kick out this terrible Tory government and build a Britain for the many not the few."

Ms Shawcroft had already been forced to resign as the chairwoman of the party's disputes panel after it emerged she had opposed the suspension of a council candidate accused of Holocaust denial.

She caused further anger with a Facebook posting claiming the row about anti-Semitism was being "stirred up to attack Jeremy, as we all know".

In a statement she said: "It is clear that my continued membership of the NEC has become a distraction for the party and an excuse for endless intrusive media harassment of myself, my family and friends."