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Labour have not done enough in tackling anti-Semitism, Andrew Gwynne says

He said people needed to ‘acknowledge that there is an issue of anti-Semitism on the left of British politics’.

Andrew Gwynne (Gareth Fuller/PA)
Andrew Gwynne (Gareth Fuller/PA)

Labour have “not done nearly enough, quickly enough” in tackling anti-Semitism within the party, the shadow communities secretary has said.

Andrew Gwynne said Jeremy Corbyn’s party was determined to “root out” anti-Semitism as he dismissed suggestions that the issue was being used by Labour MPs to attack the party’s leader.

“Let’s be clear: we have to make progress on this – we’ve not done nearly enough quickly enough, and that is recognised across the Labour Party, its recognised by our new general secretary Jennie Formby,” he told BBC One’s Andrew Marr Show.

“We are determined not just to call out anti-Semitism, but to root out anti-Semitism.

“It has no place in the Labour Party.”

Following trade union boss Len McCluskey’s claim that some Labour MPs were “polluting” the leader’s efforts to tackle the problem, Mr Gwynne was asked whether anti-Semitism was being used to attack Mr Corbyn.

He replied: “No, and Jeremy has made that very clear that the notion that these are smears against the Labour Party he does not accept that.”

Mr Gwynne added: “It is perfectly acceptable for Labour MPs to call out anti-Semitism in our party and in our movement and it is incumbent on our party and on our movement to act and root it out.”

He said people needed to “acknowledge that there is an issue of anti-Semitism on the left of British politics”.

“It’s not just something that affects the right of British politics – there is an element in the left. It is a small element.”

Mr Gwynne also said he would not share a platform with anyone who had been expelled from the Labour Party for anti-Semitism.

He added: “It’s been made very clear by Jeremy Corbyn that nobody should be sharing a platform with anybody who has been found guilty of anti-Semitism.

“That is absolutely clear: anybody who is expelled from the Labour Party, we should not be sharing platforms with these people.”

Mr Gwynne also sought to lower expectations ahead of the local elections on Thursday.

He said: “We’re predicting that because these were high watermark years when these seats were last fought in 2014, that it’s probably going to be difficult to get anything like that.

“We’ve never ever held the City of Westminster, we last held Wandsworth in 1978. If we took those it would be a spectacular night.

“I am confident that we will have a good night – I don’t think it will be anything like some of the opinion polls would suggest because we are already defending about 80% of the seats in some of those metropolitan boroughs and London boroughs – we’re already at a high watermark.”

Press Association

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