Jeremy Corbyn should undergo anti-Semitism training, the founder of Momentum, Jon Lansman, has suggested.
Lansman, a close ally of the Labour leader, said on Sunday that most people in the party who had “unacceptable” views were best dealt with by “education and training” rather than expulsion.
Asked if Corbyn should submit to training in the wake of his recent comments, Lansman said: “I think there is always a place for education and training in everyone’s lives and Jeremy Corbyn has a longstanding commitment to lifelong learning.”
A source close to Lansman said later: “It was a lighthearted joke which provoked much laughter amongst the audience.”
Corbyn has been dogged by accusations that at best he tolerates anti-Semitism within the party or at worst that he is guilty of anti-Semitism himself.
Gordon Brown today warned the “soul of the party” was at risk over any tolerance of racism in its ranks.
Lansman, who is Jewish, was speaking at the Jewish Labour Movement conference in north London.
He said it should not be the case there was “no redemption” for all party members found to have made anti-Semitic remarks.
The influx of new members into Labour under Corbyn’s leadership “has brought in some people with some unacceptable prejudices”, Lansman said.
“Much of those prejudices I think can be dealt with by education and training... not all of them.”
“600,000 people are a weapon, do not throw it away lightly, of course we have to deal with anti-Semitism in the party. I am absolutely with you on that,” he said.
“But we also have to make something out of the benefit of having a mass party for the first time really in the history of the Labour Party.”
This morning Shadow chancellor John McDonnell said the comparisons between Corbyn and Enoch Powell, made by former chief rabbi Lord Sacks, were “just wrong”.
He told the BBC: “Jeremy has made it absolutely clear we will protect Jewish members of our party from any form of abuse and anti-Semitism.”
McDonnell added that he wanted the anti-Semitism issue in the party resolved “as quickly as possible”.