JohnMcDonnell has admitted that the “horrible” issue of anti-Semitism in Labour could have hurt the the party’s chances of winning the election.
Speaking to the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show on Sunday morning, the shadow chancellor said Labour had done “everything we can” to try and stamp out anti-Jewish racism.
But he said: “I don’t care how many people, one anti-Semite in our party is too many.”
McDonnell said he was “angry because we weren’t quick enough or ruthless enough”.
Asked if the accusations that Jeremy Corbyn had allowed anti-Semitism to grow on his watch could cost Labour the election, McDonnell said: “I worry that this has had its effect.”
He added: “I apologise to the Jewish community for the suffering we’ve inflicted on them, I say to them we’re doing everything possible, we want to learn more lessons and we want to be the shining example of anti-racism that the Labour Party should be.”
Boris Johnson and Corbyn were involved in a series of angry exchanges over racism and anti-Semitism in the final TV debate of the election campaign on Friday night.
The prime minister accused Corbyn of a “failure of leadership” in his handling of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party.
The Labour leader shot back that he never used racist language and that he hoped Johnson regretted his past comments.
Corbyn did not specify which comments he was referring to but Johnson has been widely criticised for articles he wrote referring to “piccaninnies” and likening Muslim women in burqas to letterboxes and bank robbers.
Last week the Jewish Labour Movement (JLM) refused to endorse Corbyn as prime minister amid renewed claims the party has failed to tackle anti-Semitism in its ranks.
Corbyn was forced to deny the party had become a “welcoming refuge” for anti-Semites under his leadership.
It followed the disclosure that 70 present and former Labour staffers gave sworn testimony for the JLM’s submission to the official inquiry into anti-Semitism in the party by the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC).
The 53-page dossier concluded the party is “no longer a safe space for Jewish people”, with a “relentless flow” of anti-Semitic incidents.