No place for abuse in the Labour Party insists Jeremy Corbyn


Jeremy Corbyn has insisted there is no place for abuse in the Labour Party, after 44 women MPs wrote to him to urge him to take action over the bullying and intimidation they faced.

At a leadership rally in Salford, Corbyn acknowledged that people were "angry" at the actions of MPs who had sought to oust him from the leadership, but said that they should settle their differences by "democratic" means.

The rally was live-streamed on Facebook and to gatherings of supporters across the country.

Speaking from the same platform, his close ally, shadow justice secretary Richard Burgon, hit back at the MPs, warning them that they needed to show "respect" to ordinary party members.

A black and white photograph showing people in the streets in Worksop protesting (PA)
Pickets at Kiveton Park Colliery, Worksop in 1984 (PA)

He compared the portrayal of Mr Corbyn's supporters with the way striking miners had been "demonised" in the 1980s.

"I am not, and others are not, going to stand by and see every single one of you portrayed as the striking miners were, as thugs, brick-throwers, bullies and misogynists," he said to cheers from the packed audience at the Lowry Theatre.

"It is vitally important that we respect each other with our different views, as we do. But I tell you this, MPs need to respect party members as well.

He praised the new members who had been inspired to join the party as a result of Mr Corbyn's leadership.

His comments are likely to inflame the tensions within the party after Mr Corbyn faced an overwhelming vote of no confidence by MPs, and a mass walk-out by the shadow cabinet, in the wake of last month's EU referendum vote.

(Andrew Matthews/PA)
Owen Smith is challenging Corbyn for the leadership (Andrew Matthews/PA)

Corbyn, who is now facing a leadership challenge from former shadow work and pensions secretary Owen Smith, urged his followers to remain disciplined.

"We have to be very disciplined. As I have made it very, very clear many times before, I don't do any personal abuse of anybody at any time. None of that has any place in our party or our movement," he said.

"I know people are angry about actions that have been taken but where we have disagreement in our party we settle it through democratic means - no coups, no intimidation, no abuse."

Jeremy Corbyn gestures with closing hands as he gives a speech (Neil Jones/PA)
Corbyn addressed a packed Lowry Theatre in Salford (Neil Jones/PA)

His comments came after 44 women Labour MPs wrote to him in a letter organised by backbencher Paula Sherriff complaining about his "inadequate" response to the abuse.

"Rape threats, death threats, smashed cars and bricks through windows are disgusting and totally unacceptable in any situation," they wrote.

"This is acknowledged by all factions, yet the simple words of condemnation offered in response are inadequate. We expect swift and tangible action against those who commit such acts."