Jeremy Corbyn says he is ‘very sorry for everything that’s happened’ over antisemitism in Labour

Jeremy Corbyn says he is ‘very sorry for everything that’s happened’ over antisemitism in Labour

Jeremy Corbyn has apologised for antisemitism in Labour, saying he is “very sorry for everything that has happened”.

The Labour leader said he was “obviously” sorry but insisted that he had “dealt with” the problem, which he claimed was also an issue in other political parties.

He had been under pressure to apologise to the Jewish community after refusing to do so on multiple occasions in recent days.

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Last week, he declined four times to apologise for antisemitism in the Labour party during an interview with the BBC’s Andrew Neil and, the next day, h dismissed several questions on the issue at a press conference.

Appearing on ITV’s This Morning on Tuesday, he was again asked repeatedly if he would apologise.

leftCreated with Sketch.
rightCreated with Sketch.

Pushed several times by host Phillip Schofield, he said: “Obviously I’m very sorry for everything that has happened but I want to make this clear: I am dealing with it, I have dealt with it.

“Other parties are also affected by antisemitism – candidates have been withdrawn by the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives and by us because of it. We just do not accept it in any form whatsoever.”

Mr Corbyn insisted that he had improved the way Labour deals with anti-Jewish abuse, saying: “When I became leader of the party there were no processes in place to deal with cases of antisemitism. I instituted those. 

“I also made sure that, for egregious cases, there was a rapid system of doing it and I proposed that to our national executive in July. I also instituted a process of education in the party.”

Asked about chief rabbi Ephraim Mirvis’ comments last week that British Jews were “justifiably anxious” about the prospect of Mr Corbyn becoming prime minister, the Labour leader said: “I think the chief rabbi’s comments really ought to be taken for what they are.

“He hasn’t contacted me about it, I’m very happy to meet him, very happy to talk to him, very happy to talk to any representatives of any part of the Jewish community in our society because I recognise that antisemitism is a poison and it’s very dangerous.”

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Mr Corbyn also dismissed as a “conspiracy theory” suggestions that government documents on UK-US trade talks published by Labour may have been a result of Russian interference.

Labour said the memos, which revealed discussions between negotiators – including the role of the NHS in any trade deal – showed that the health service was “up for sale” under the Conservatives – a claim strongly denied by the Tories.

After it emerged that the documents had previously been published on the Reddit website, Tory Bob Seely – who is seeking re-election as the MP for the Isle of Wight – claimed that Mr Corbyn may have been “an unwitting tool of a Russian disinformation campaign”.

Asked about this, Mr Corbyn said: “At no stage until today, when this new conspiracy theory arose, has anyone challenged the correctness or veracity of that document.”

He added: “If the document is not accurate then why is it, [when[ it’s been out there all this time, no minister has claimed it’s inaccurate, no government has? In reality the minutes are there of meetings which involved Liam Fox [the former international trade secretary] in the early stages and officials later on, and Donald Trump himself said everything is on the table, including our National Health Service.”

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