POLITICS
06/05/2018 10:48 BST | Updated 07/05/2018 19:13 BST

Jeremy Corbyn Should Disown 'Fake News Website' Skwawkbox, Says Jewish Councillor Who Lost Barnet Seat

The local elections row rumbles on.

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A furious row sparked after Labour failed to take control of Barnet council in the local elections is rumbling on, with Jeremy Corbyn urged to disown a website supportive of his leadership.

Adam Langleben - who blames the party’s anti-Semitism problem for the loss of his West Hendon ward to the Tories - has called on the leadership to publicly denounce The Skwawkbox, which he accused of “propagating conspiracy theories” about Jew-hate. 

The former councillor, one of three to lose seats in a single ward, also wants Corbyn to apologise in person to Labour activists for “failing to get a grip of the issue” plaguing the party.

In a video posted on Twitter, Langleben said: “The problem we have in the Labour Party right now is we have conspiratorial anti-Semitism that has taken hold, people who believe in conspiracy theory, and that belief...takes a jump over into anti-Semitism.

“As I am filming this, an alternative left-wing news website called Skwawkbox is going through all of the tweets attacking me, as a Jewish Labour Party member, now former councillor, that accuses me of being a Mossad agent, that accuses me of trying to undermine the leadership, accuses me of all sort of things and it is propagating this bollocks, propagating anti-Semitism.”

He added: “The Labour leadership can do something very simple and easy and say that these alternative fake news websites do not speak for them.  

“Jeremy Corbyn, John McDonnell both have close links to the people who run these websites.  They should say loudly and clearly that any conspiracy theory that these websites spread are false, they should be shut down, and they do not have the support of the Labour leadership.”

The Skwawkbox, which is run by a Liverpool-based activist Steve Walker and has previously been accused of bullying and intimidating MPs, denied the claims.

“Mr Langleben’s bizarre comments are without foundation, and he has produced no evidence when challenged to do so,” Walker told HuffPost UK.

“His agenda to shut down independent media inconvenient to the right is clear. The matter is with lawyers.”

Speaking to the BBC’s Andrew Marr on Sunday, shadow chancellor John McDonnell admitted anti-Semitism had “had an effect” on the outcome in Barnet and said he would meet disgruntled councillors on Tuesday.

He added that he hoped new measures put in place by Labour’s general secretary Jennie Formby would “demonstrate positive progress” in tackling the problem.  

Corbyn has insisted that no one who raises the issue should be accused of trying to ‘smear’ his leadership.

McDonnell also called on Conservative Party chair Brandon Lewis to take action against Pendle council for reinstating a councillor who shared a racist joke.

“We can’t tolerate racism in any party,” he said.

“To have the Conservative Party take control of the council by reinstating a councillor who used the foulest racist joke is unacceptable.

“I want Theresa May to say now to Brandon Lewis, who congratulated those councillors, first of all to apologise and suspend that councillor again. It’s unacceptable.”

Business secretary Greg Clark, who also appeared on the programme, said Rosemary Carroll had “no place in the Conservative Party” if she held such views and promised a full investigation would take place.

This article has been amended to reflect Mr Walker’s comments.