Jeremy Corbyn is embroiled in fresh anti-Semitism storm after being accused of calling Labour MP suspended over row a ‘comrade’
- Labour leader sparked fury by patting Chris Williamson on the back
- Derby North MP suspended last month for saying Labour had ‘given too much ground’ over anti-Semitism allegations
- Independent MP said the leader couldn’t care less about anti-Jewish prejudice
- A Labour source defended the actions as ‘basic politeness’ by Corbyn
Jeremy Corbyn was at the centre of a fresh anti-Semitism storm last night after being accused of describing the Labour MP suspended from the party over the row as his ‘comrade’.
The Labour leader sparked fury by patting Chris Williamson on the back and chatting with him in full view of fellow MPs – even though Mr Williamson is facing an investigation for saying the party had been ‘too apologetic’ over anti-Semitism allegations.
The encounter – caught on camera by Commons TV – was seized upon by critics as proof that Mr Corbyn is still not serious about rooting out anti-Jewish prejudice.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn (right) was criticised by other MPs for ‘patting’ suspended MP Chris Williamson (left) on the back
Derby North MP Mr Williamson was suspended last month after being filmed saying Labour had ‘given too much ground’ in the face of criticism of its handling of anti-Semitism allegations.
But last week, MPs were astonished to see Mr Corbyn approach Mr Williamson and a colleague in the Commons’ Chamber during a vote on the Brexit negotiations.
The Labour leader can be seen weaving his way through a crowd and stopping to chat to the two MPs after patting them both on the back.
Witnesses say Mr Corbyn greeted them by saying: ‘How are we, comrades?’
Independent MP Ian Austin, who quit Labour over the anti-Semitism row, said: ‘If any more proof were needed that the Labour leader couldn’t care less about eradicating anti-Jewish prejudice in his party, this is it.’
But last night a Labour source defended Mr Corbyn’s actions, saying: ‘It is absurd to confuse basic politeness with a lack of resolve to tackle anti-Semitism.’
A Labour source defended Mr Corbyn’s actions, saying: ‘It is absurd to confuse basic politeness with a lack of resolve to tackle anti-Semitism’
Mr Williamson was suspended last month after being filmed saying Labour had ‘given too much ground’ over its handling of anti-Semitism allegations.