POLITICS
17/02/2016 16:30 GMT | Updated 17/02/2016 21:59 GMT

Ed Miliband Pulls Out Of Oxford University Talk Over Claims Of Anti-Semitism In The Labour Club

Ed Miliband's office has postponed a scheduled talk at Oxford University's Labour Club following reports of anti-Semitism within the society. On Wednesday, a spokesman said the former Labour leader was "deeply disturbed" over accusations of bigotry, adding he will not speak at the society until an investigation had been concluded.

ed miliband

Ed Miliband speaks at London's Methodist Central Hall, during a rally staged by community organising charity Citizens UK in 2015

Many grandees from the Party’s history have passed through the august body, including former Labour leader Michael Foot and former Foreign Secretary David Miliband. Ed Miliband was due to give a lecture on March 4.

On Wednesday, John Mann, Labour MP for Bassetlaw, called on Jeremy Corbyn to "personally look into" the claims after undergraduate Alex Chalmers resigned as co-chairman, claiming many members "have some kind of problem with Jews" and some sympathise with Islamic militant group Hamas.

Chalmers, who revealed his resignation in a Facebook post earlier this week, quit over the club’s backing of Israel Apartheid Week. The university's Jewish Society has also lodged complaint against the Club's alleged indulgence in anti-Semitic songs.

A spokesman for the Doncaster MP told the Press Association: "Ed is deeply disturbed to hear of reports of anti-Semitism in the Oxford University Labour Club. It is right that the executive of the club has roundly condemned the comments and fully co-operates with the Labour Students' investigation. Ed and the Labour Club have agreed that his talk should be postponed until the investigation is resolved."

On Wednesday, the Israeli embassy in London said it was "appalled" by the claims. “We would not expect such disgraceful activity from any morally upright person – let alone students at one of the most prestigious universities in the world,” a spokesman said.

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Alex Chalmers: Members 'have some kind of problem with Jews'

MP Louise Ellman, vice chairwoman of Labour Friends of Israel, added similar regrets over the "troubling tone of the discourse" over the Israel Apartheid Week debate.

Labour Students, which oversees the Oxford club, said it had launched an investigation, adding: “We will fully co-operate with this and encourage any of our members to come forward with any information that will assist the process."

It is with the greatest regret that I have decided to resign as Co-Chair of the Oxford University Labour Club. This...

Posted by Alex Chalmers on Monday, 15 February 2016

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