Jeremy Corbyn “has been a perpetrator of anti-Semitism”, a former Labour Party front-bencher has claimed.
Lord Mendelsohn launched an attack on the Labour leader during a House of Lords debate on anti-Semitism on Thursday, saying the crisis had “never been gripped” during Corbyn’s leadership.
Citing polling which suggested almost 40% of Jews would leave the UK if Corbyn became prime minister, Mendelsohn added: “How is it that part of the UK now feels that a party that has always stood up for justice, liberty and progress is the wrong one to entrust their lives and those of their children so intensely to the point that so many are considering emigration?”
The Labour peer was the party’s spokesman on business and international trade until January, when he was effectively sacked from the frontbench for attending the controversial men-only Presidents Club dinner.
Mendelsohn was not alone in taking aim at Corbyn during the debate. Crossbencher Lord Sugar accused the Labour leader of letting the anti-Semitism row “rumble on for months”.
“What kind of leader is he not to take his party by the scruff of the neck and make them see sense and kill the matter off once and for all?,” he asked the House.
Sugar added: “I think Mr Corbyn allowed matters to ramble on because he frankly does not give two hoots about what Jews in the UK think.”
Jewish votes “are a drop in the ocean” to the party leader, the peer added. “We mean nothing to him.”
But a Labour source called the pair’s comments a “politically motivated attack”, accusing Sugar of having “very little credibility on equality matters”.
Meanwhile, a Labour party spokesperson defended Corbyn as a “militant opponent of anti-Semitism”, saying he is “absolutely committed” to tackling the issue.
“Jeremy Corbyn tasked Labour’s new General Secretary Jennie Formby with speeding up and strengthening our disciplinary procedures against anti-Semitism as her top priority and developing a comprehensive programme of political education to increase understanding of anti-Semitism and drive it out of our movement,” they said.