Owen Smith has said supporters of Jeremy Corbyn were “encouraging” antisemitic groups to “flood into Labour”.
Speaking on BBC’s Question Time, he said that “under Jeremy’s leadership” Labour had seen “a flood of people on the hard left of politics, who are bringing into our party antisemitic attitudes.”
“I think some of the people around Jeremy are absolutely encouraging it, of that I have no doubt”, he continued.
He added that members of the far left groups AWL and SWP had been welcomed by Corbyn supporters.
“I saw a tweet purporting to be from Jeremy’ team saying to the AWL ‘you are welcome to come to Jeremy’s rallies, just leave the flags at home”.
Corbyn called Smith’s accusations unfair, and said that he, like Smith, had “opposed antisemitism all my life”.
“I have spent my life opposing racism in any form”, he added.
Smith said there was a problem with antiseminitism in Labour, and said it had weakened them in combating the problem in Britain.
“I think that has diminished our ability to speak out against antisemitism in the country at large”, he said.
He said that Corbyn had not been strong enough on combating it, and that the investigation into Labour antisemitism chaired by Shami Chakrabarti “isn’t viewed by the Jewish comminuty as being adequate”.
He called for a “higher powered” review.
Corbyn said that antisemitism was reported in the party before he became leader, and that it was “totally unacceptable anywhere in society”.
He said the investigation should be “subject to review at a later stage to see how it’s getting on”.
“We have to say to people in the Labour party, this is a safe place to be”, he said.