Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has distanced himself from the anti-Semitic abuse carried out by people claiming to be his supporters, saying none of it was “ever done in my name”.
Mr Corbyn said the vile comments directed at some Labour MPs were “disgusting” and “appalling” and stressed the abuse was “completely unacceptable”.
Speaking separately from Mr Corbyn at an event launching Labour’s housing proposals, London Mayor Sadiq Khan acknowledged that some Jewish people “don’t feel comfortable with the Labour Party” and called for “tough” action against anti-Semites.
Earlier this week a series of Labour MPs spoke in the Commons about the abuse they had received from people who claimed to be supporters of Mr Corbyn.
Luciana Berger said Labour must expel those with anti-Semitic views, and criticised people who attacked her for speaking out on the issue while claiming to be both party members and supporters of the #JC4PM – Jeremy Corbyn for prime minister – campaign.
Mr Corbyn told the Press Association: “No anti-Semitic remarks are ever done in my name. I am totally opposed to it in any form whatsoever.
“We will deal with it, as our society must deal with it.
“The increase in anti-Semitic remarks, attacks and abuse in our society is unacceptable, as it is anywhere across Europe. We will deal with it.”
He said Theresa May was “completely wrong” to claim at Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday that he had allowed anti-Semitism to “run rife” in Labour.
Mr Corbyn highlighted the appointment of Baroness Chakrabarti to review the issue to make sure “our party lives up to the highest possible standards” – although critics have branded the 2016 report produced by the former Liberty director a “whitewash”.
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Mr Khan acknowledged anti-Semitism was proving to be an issue as Labour bids to win votes across the capital in May’s local elections.
He said: “The reality is there are some Londoners of Jewish faith who don’t feel comfortable with the Labour Party.
“It’s really important that we as a Labour Party address the concerns – the legitimate concerns – Londoners and others of Jewish faith have, and those of non-Jewish faith as well.
“We have got to make sure we are tough on anybody against whom an allegation of anti-Semitism has been made, we have got to make sure that the Labour Party is not a place that anti-Semites feel welcome.
“We have got to make sure that anybody against whom a complaint has been made has the complaint investigated speedily and, if it’s upheld, kicked out of our party.”