UK

Labour's Wes Streeting Tells Of Members 'Cutting Up Membership Cards' As Anti-Semitism Row Grows

'Labour really needs to get its act together...'

14/03/2016 20:27 GMT

Labour supporters are cutting up their membership cards in disgust over the party's refusal to oust anti-semites, an MP has claimed.

Wes Streeting said Jewish members were asking whether there was still a place for them in Labour after two backers did not have their membership rescinded despite publicly airing "anti-semitic" views.

The Ilford North MP also called on leader Jeremy Corbyn to send a stronger message to his supporters who aired racist views.

He told LBC's Iain Dale: "I've had messages from party members who've cut up their membership cards.

"I've had constituents in Ilford North write to me asking 'What on earth is going on with the Labour party'; 'Is there still a place for Jews in the Labour party'; 'Why would Jewish people want to vote for the Labour party'.

"The fact is unless we show we have zero tolerance to anti-semitism - as we would with any other type of racism - it's a perfectly legitimate question. 

Streeting insisted Corbyn had not made case-by-case decisions regarding members reported for anti-semitism but urged the Labour leader to offer swift redress to alienated Jewish voters. 

Bloomberg via Getty Images
Corbyn is under pressure to act quickly to win back disheartened Jewish members and voters

"It's worth pointing out, both in terms of the episode last week, with a man who expressed a whole series of vile views including anti-semitic views, and Miss Kirby this week, these are decisions haven't been taken by Jeremy Corbyn," the MP said.

"But the challenge now in Jeremy's in-tray as leader of the Labour party is, I think, there are lots of Jewish people inside the Labour party and across the country who are deeply concerned that Labour is seen as a soft-touch on anti-semitism or looking the other way.

"We need a really strong message from the top... 

The Labour MP admitted he was speaking down a phone-line from an international conference on anti-semitism and felt "embarrassed" attending as a British Labour MP.

"I'm actually in Berlin at the moment at an international conference on tackling anti-semitism and it feels pretty embarrassing being a British Labour MP at this conference given what seems to be a pretty poor approach to tackling anti-semitism ourselves.

"I think we really need to get our act together on this."