Starmer says Corbyn’s response to anti-Semitism report ‘as bad as you can get’

Sir Keir Starmer has said Jeremy Corbyn’s response to a damning report on anti-Semitism in Labour was “just about as bad as you can get”.

The Opposition leader said he was “disappointed” when his predecessor claimed the issue had been “dramatically overstated for political reasons”.

Mr Corbyn was suspended from Labour over his response to the damning Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) report last month.

He has since been reinstated as a party member by the National Executive Committee, but Sir Keir has not restored the Labour whip – meaning Mr Corbyn cannot sit as a Labour MP.

Speaking at a Jewish Labour Movement virtual conference on Sunday, Sir Keir said: “I can’t tell you how disappointed I was with Jeremy Corbyn’s response.

“Because the words he used, what he said, coming from the former leader of the Labour Party in response to that report were just about as bad as you can get.

“Everything in a sense that has followed in the last few weeks follows from those words, and that has exacerbated the pain and the hurt and we are in a position that I did not want to be in.”

Last week, Labour’s chief whip Nick Brown asked Mr Corbyn to “unequivocally, unambiguously and without reservation” apologise for claiming that the scale of anti-Semitism in the party was “dramatically overstated for political reasons”.

In a letter obtained by the PA news agency, Mr Brown said the former Labour leader’s response to the report caused “distress and pain” to the Jewish community.